Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gardens, flowers, and bouquets--All part of summer and her beauty

Gardens, flowers, and bouquets--All part of summer and her beauty
Darrel L. Hammon

There is something about summers that excites me, and that is growing gardens and flowers. Earlier, this spring, I tilled the garden the old-fashioned way: I used a shovel to turn over the dirt; then, I raked it flat. I am thankful for leather gloves. Now, I didn’t turn the garden over all in one day. I did it over a couple of days. While I turned over the dirt, birds fluttered in and waited, knowing worms would be crawling out of the ground.
My little garden helper. I think they call this "pattern mixing."
Once the ground was prepared, my granddaughter and I planted potatoes, peas, and onion sets. She loved sprinkling the pea seed around. I knew she placed the seeds closer than they should have been, but she was being so meticulous.

As we cut the potato seed, I hearkened back to my days during spud cutting days in Uncle Milt’s cellar. He taught us to cut them so there was “an eye” in each set, “an eye to grow,” he would say. I showed Emiline how this was to be done. She just squatted and watched me cut the potatoes and dig the furrow, and then she helped me plant each set, eyes facing up so they would shoot through the dirt and out into the sun.

The start of our early garden
Soon, we planted other things: carrots, beets, Swish chard, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon. Also, volunteer summer and zucchini squash sneaked out of the ground. Some of them we pulled up; others we left to grow. Our neighbors gave us some strawberry starts that we also planted. 

Beets and beans
Before too long, the seeds began to sprout. Each day, Emiline and I walked outside to assess our work. She squealed when I showed her what was coming out of the ground. She would run to her mother and tell her the good news. She was so excited about the garden and its growth. I suspect I was the same way with our garden when I was growing up. 

Starting to grow and flourish
Within a relatively short time, the peas began to bloom and set little pods. I showed them to Emiline. She was curious as to when we could pick them. “Soon,” I said. Well, soon came upon us, and we picked peas and shelled them in a colander almost like the one we used to use when I was growing up. We also carefully dug up some little red potatoes so Joanne could make her famous “new peas and potatoes” dish. We dined well that night.

Pea pod boats
Picking peas is an arduous task, but there is some fun in it. When I was a kid, my dad showed us how to make pea pod boats and sail them down the rows when we watered. I remember making dozens of the pea pod boats each summer. As I was picking this year, I said to myself, “I should make a pea pod boat.” I did and sent it down one of the rows. Ah, the wonderful memories of youth!

Peas ready to be shelled
Our garden has done well. We have eaten onions, beets, carrots, summer and zucchini squash (both “volunteer” plants), one tomato, one cucumber—so far—and Swish chard. I don’t think there is anything as good as fresh vegetables from one’s garden. We ate the cucumber last night, and it was absolutely delicious. And the corn is tassling, meaning corn is on its way!

A triad of daisies
Plus, the flowers have been beautiful. We have planted just a few. Most of the flowers were already here. Thanks to the Poppleton family who used to live here. Apparently, Mr. Poppleton was an expert gardener and loved flowers, particularly lilies and roses. They have been beautiful. You can tell he spent a great deal of time in his yard and his garden.

One of the bouquets
Flowers spice up your yard and can spice up your table if you know how to arrange them. Even if you don’t, you can throw some in a vase, and the next thing you know you have a bouquet of beautiful flowers that a florist would covet. Promise!

The garden today.
Yes, summer can be a joyous occasion in your garden. The vibrant colors of flowers create a glorious view from your windows and the road. Neighbors and people who walk along the sidewalk will definitely say something to you. Plus, having fresh vegetables only punctuate your hard work. In the early morning or in the evening, you can stand back and bask in their beauty, knowing full well who has provided such wonders to the world.

Gorgeous light purple roses