Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sow What

For zucchini, they look almost good enough to eat.

They’re heirlooms. Of course the downside is, any zucchini still tastes like zucchini, even when it sports jazzy zebra stripes. These have a very fancy name; I don’t know what it is – but I’m sure there’s a “de la” in there somewhere.

One can’t just grow a plain old pumpkin anymore. It has to be “Field Hybrid: Muscade de Provence.” These days we trade little gram-weight envelopes of seeds as if we were trading – well, you know. And out of the earth, the very well treated earth, stuff, edible (though not always eaten) stuff, pops up.

Oh wait, this one's not edible. Don't be deceived by the vegetable coating.

I lived in thirty rentals or borrowed or otherwise-owned houses from the 1980's to the mid new century, and if a flower, a blade of grass ventured out of the dry cracked earth, I never noticed. They went their way, and I went mine. Actually, for all I know, maybe the earth wasn’t dry and cracked, maybe some lushness existed at one place or the other. Just didn’t notice at all.

But in the middle of this current decade, all flush with brand new pride-of-ownership, an insidious addiction took hold. I fell in love, the mad kind. The flora kind. The house wasn’t much and stayed that way, but nothing was too good for the garden.

I eschewed Home Depot, and ordered plants from Oregon, Napa, Wisconsin, but mostly a Florida nursery that specialized in exotics. Moringa Oliphera, Canonga, Boronia Megastigma.

Waves of infatuation followed. Old world roses, weird fruit trees, Australian natives, succulents, cacti, and finally, fragrance. Aglaia, osmanthus, clematis, six different kinds of jasmine, magnolia coco, Burmese honeysuckle, and more – so very much more.

Then one day I woke up and the spell was broken, the urgency dissipated. I installed automatic sprinklers, rather than carefully watering by hand. I stopped pampering the tropicals and let them face their own facts (as in, we have no humidity in Altadena). I was now both sated and even a little disinterested.

Passion is funny that way. Passion is funny in a lot of ways. As in, if I could have consciously chosen my passions, my life would have been very, very different. No judgment implied.


  1. Burmese honeysuckle?! Must. Have. Some...

  2. We who are about to fry salute you.

  3. To the gardener & hikhers belong the toils.

  4. Passion is a polite word for Obsessive Compulsive. I wanted to try one heirloom tomato plant. We now have 10. Passion for growing tomatos? Nope, Obsessive compulsive.

  5. Hey, you want some kudzu?? Plant some and you won't have to worry about anything else in your garden......forever. Oh and I know about losing your passion for yard work. I lost mine about 4 years ago. Yawn.

  6. This happens to me all the time, especially with gardening. I get all excited about a plant. I water it, nurture it, and then forget about it. I feel like a bad girlfriend the way I flirt and dump.

  7. I wonder if passion is different from person to person? Some people seem passionate about many things at once. I used to be that way, but now I've got just about enough for one thing at a time.

    WV: erress. Ah, too true.

  8. One passion may stop, but another takes hold...
    I do like the survival of the fittest approach to gardening-except that I cannot throw out a dying plant. So those geraniums that get covered in rust or . Pete is the one with a green thumb - and keeps our roses in front and container plants in the back going.
    I am very envious of your heirlooms.

  9. I think there's some phrase to effect of we don't choose our passions, our passions choose us. Passion for zucchini is one example.


  10. Oh, but you still love those cute doggie faces! I don't think that passion is ever going away. :)

  11. when did this post go up? no date (she writes scratching her head). My gardening passion started in 84 on the balcony of my studio. At the time i didn't know tulips fried under southern exposure (and a lot more). The pot plant, well.... I couldn't smoke it but I was popular among my peers.
    30 moves? It's a miracle that you've been able to keep anything over that time. Family pics, Richard Feynman tapes....what have you. I find that loss always occurs during a move.