Going to Pot
I’ve always had gardens: big ones, small ones, rangy out of control ones,tightly manicured ones; some with vegetables, some not. All manner of plants and climates from zone 3 to 8.
My gardens have always revealed my mood and state of well being. In times of sadness, they are neglected and weedy. When I am happy they over flow with flowers and fruit.
When I was a child, my grandmother, great aunt and mother all had fabulous gardens. They were in a decidedly European style, ringed by fruit trees, and giant bushes laden with fruit. We had enormous bouquets of flowers all season long and dried bouquets into winter. The garden filled our freezers and canning shelves with magical jellies, jams, compotes, sauces, whole tomatoes, like glowing orbs of summer just waiting to explode into a stew or soup.
The spring and summer were a riot of sweet lettuces,tender asparagus, little green onions and luscious peas. By fall we had squash and tomatoes coming out our ears and preserved all that could be eaten. The herbs were dried, the neighboring woods bounty provided nuts and mushrooms who lined up next to the dried herbs as if soldiers in the line of battle against winter’s nutritional sparseness.
Now I live with Farmers’ Markets and local produce all year round and of course those silly raspberries from Peru. Florida makes mangoes and lychees in abundance and I needn’t grow my own of anything, as it is merely at the corner stand and quite nice if I stay clear of the chain supermarkets.
Which brings me to my garden. Coastal Florida soil is so very crappy. It washes through in rainy season and is generally too alkaline to make anything grow other than sea grass. I have gone completely to pots. I have a rather normal looking landscape disguising my secret side garden. If not hidden the neighborhood association police will surely haul me away for rampant uncontrolled garden excess. I am prohibited from vegetables of course (clotheslines, too…sigh)!
So my garden is entirely in pots. Big pots, little pots, hanging pots. It is all pots. There are herbs for my kitchen, flowers for the tables and a riot of color for the edge of the pool. It suits me fine at this point, and gives me great joy. I have the occasional plant failure, but for the most part everybody hangs on just fine…the overflowing and riotous show offs that they are. We happily nod to the Florida sun, enjoy the summer rains and think perhaps cooler weather can’t be more than a couple months away.
We have gone to pot, as they say. My maternal predecessors would approve I think, even. if there are no jars on the shelf to show for my labors.
Margaret D Kruger
Sarasota, Florida 34238
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