I have this fantasy of a lush English cottage garden, overgrown with vines, dripping with blossoms, rich in scent… (There may also be white eyelet and frolicking little girls involved; girls with baskets of harvest and flowers weaved through sunlit tresses.)
As it happens, I live in a desert. While I do have little girls (and they do, indeed, frolic), they are more likely to have sand and popsicle in their hair than flowers, and my most consistent crops are puncture-weeds and quackgrass. “Lush” is a luxury.
To further inhibit my green thumb, I live against a mountain, where the soil grows boulders and the deer enjoy a harvest banquet as much as I do. So a garden, while inspiring and joyful and immensely satisfying, can also be a lot of work.
So it is that, despite a merciless squash bug attack, plenty of bindweed, and an unfortunate mishap with a weed-whacker, I am particularly proud of my garden this year. I won’t get much in the way of butternut, but the tomato vines are taller than I am, the beans are abundant and the herbs — oh, the herbs! — are ambrosial.
There is a tiny sitting area with a comfortable chair and morning shade, where the sun rises like a white-hot muse and sets with a stunning display of salmon and purple ribbons.
There is space for a lazy golden or two; a bench that can hold a lemonade pitcher, seat a visitor, or serve as an art table for a two year old; and an endless assortment of blossoms, bees, color, and change all choreographed to inspire.
All in all, it is one of my best resources for creative juice throughout the entire summer.
(And I don’t even miss the white eyelet; juicy watermelon will more than make up.)