“Maggie wants to expand the garden this spring,” Jack said with a smile.
A truck driver for thirty-seven years, you can’t call Jack a slacker. Here in the depth of February, he’s happy as a tick on an old coon dog. The surgeon gave him two new hips last November, and he’s raring to go. It’s amazing what pain free joints can do for a man.
It’s not that the Fergusons need more flowers and food. It’s just that Maggie’s DNA says dig soon as the earth thaws. And dig throughout the summer. And dig through the fall until her trowel gives out.
My goodness, Maggie’s gardens blossom from narcissus to chrysanthemum. And high on “the big uptop garden” protected by Minnesota Mike’s Deer Proofing Fence, she grows everything from arugula to apples in raised beds.
Well, I exaggerated a bit for the sake of alliteration.
Nevertheless, it’s plain and simple. Jack and Maggie must live amidst beautiful and tasty things. And in winter, they must think and talk about blooms and food to sustain sanity.
But that’s not all there is to it. Jack must build trellises for Maggie’s butternut squash and Amana orange tomatoes according to the dictates of his DNA that says get out your toolbox!
And there’s Maggie’s swing overlooking her beloved zinnias and cosmos so she may sit and sing to them in her velvety voice.
Not any ole rope swing. Oh no-one fit for a queen, large enough to accommodate a royal robe if she chose to wear one.
But Maggie’s not fancy when she turns the earth, other than her sun hat. She dresses for dirt, the most marvelous resource on the planet. Serious about good husbandry, Maggie knows her soil.
So does Jack—her official assistant for hauling manure and other amendments uphill to sprout sensational seedlings.
Other than my granny’s, I’ve never seen a garden yield what Maggie’s does. Robust beans, green as any bean could be. In my opinion, the most colorful edible Maggie plants in her raised beds is nasturtium.
Yes, dear Reader, nasturtium is a perfect replacement for peppering a salad. Forgive me if you already know this fact about the herb, which also offers medicinal properties.
Speaking of properties, unlike the Fergusons, Mel and I are not expanding our vegetable garden this spring. He sowed a rye cover crop last fall to enrich the old plots. After last summer’s puny harvest, we’ll be tickled with a bumper crop of tomatoes and beans.
We served our last quart of greasy beans for Christmas dinner. We’ve only three jars of tomatoes and several containers of frozen asparagus soup left.
However, in this season of drooling over seed catalogs, I’m thinking of 75 new Grosso lavender plugs rooting in Telly’s Greenhouse. I must have rows of blooming lavender outside my kitchen window.
And I reckon as Maggie sips her hot coffee these frigid mornings, similar sentiments arise from their big uptop garden outside their back window.
I can hear her singing now.
Contact Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.