I have until midnight to get nostalgic about this delicious month. The best yield thus far has come from the beets, but the cauliflower wins the prize for dramatic impersonations of Godzilla or your Japanese monster of choice. I simply walked by one day a few weeks ago, looked down and there was this huge head of cauliflower peeking out at me. Either I had not been in the garden enough, or this plant simply flowers overnight. It’s hard to miss a flower head that is two feet across! OK I exaggerate, but they are prodigious, and heavy. Seth could barely lift the thing, and this is saying a lot. Seth is one of the strongest humans I know.
Seth took this photo of me. I like this photo because I look like one of the early 20th century ancestors I have been archiving photos of. The overexposed mid day sun look is so common in the old photos. The distant gaze is also indicative of the era. I like to think all those people were gazing fondly at a child or the family dog.
Seth likes to dig in this funny corner behind the potted bergamot trees. It’s very dusty back there and home to an unfortunately dry green man and other expired plant life. It is an unappealing spot to an adult gardener, but to a child it is digging heaven. It’s Seth’s equivalent to the secret garden. He calls it his “private digging place”. He has a lot of digging places, but only one “private one”. It is poorly named because although a bit secret from the side it is definitely not so secret from above.
The other day Francis told me that he calls the little picket fenced area beyond the big fence “the secret garden of the world”. I thought this was an apt description. You access it from an almost invisible gate in the fence. There is no gate out of the picket fence that surrounds the persimmon tree. Yet everyone can see you playing and you can watch the world go by. Kids love spaces like this. I always find the kids playing joyfully in “the secret garden of the world”, because after all who wants to be cooped up behind fences all day? We are social creatures and what’s not to love about watching people frequenting the corner store, observing the officer handing out stop-sign-running tickets and hanging out with the young man selling strawberries. All of this “secret” outside world experience bathed in the yellow and orange of happy calendulas.
Daily Seth takes a handful of calendula petals tosses them in the air and yells, “celebration”. Last week he picked a pint of petals for our class picnic salad. All we needed was a few flowers worth, but Seth took it upon himself to stock up a whole party’s worth. Calendulas are something you can never have enough of, especially with kids around.
Today Seth was eating snap peas that Martina gave him. On the way home he asked me if these were the type of peas we are growing in our garden. Oh how my heart soared. I explained that we were growing edible peas and sweet peas together. I explained that the colored sweet peas we cut for flowers, yet we leave the white snap peas so that pods can form. When we got home he saw a white flower on the vines, but refrained from picking it. Every bit of planting, growing and harvesting knowledge he digests is a miracle to me. Learning to provide for his own body and soul is a mother’s hope fulfilled.