The riotous garden

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood


He stood next to me looking out at our garden and said, “I want a riotous garden – like this.” He pointed specifically to the riot of irises and butterfly bush all grown over one another, and I see the dividing of bulbs that will soon come.

One view of a garden in our front yard

My husband and I built this raised garden when we were still newlyweds, adding stone and dirt and mulch and plants around an old oak tree that needed more dirt for its roots to thrive.

Some areas have grown in better than others. Beginner’s luck, I think, as I happen to get some plants in exactly the right place for them to grow riotously. Like the irises, mostly from my mother’s garden – purples, whites, yellows and sherbet-y combinations – that have taken off this year and created a bounty of blooms.  Continue reading

Blueberry blues

I’m tired of buying frozen blueberries, and though I know fresh blueberry season is right around the corner, I’m impatient for inexpensive, fresh blueberries to arrive at a store near me. Right now, I could buy a teeny container of fresh blueberries for $10. I think I’ll wait. In the meantime, this longing for blueberries takes me back to a time when I was a child, more “worst of times” than “best of times” in my memory bank.

When I was growing up, one of my next-door neighbors had a line of blueberry bushes that grew along his driveway, separating our yard from his, and each year, I greatly anticipated the time when the vines would fill with ripe berries. I’d go over, ring the doorbell and ask permission to pick some of the berries for myself and my family. I’d gleefully fill up a bowl with them.

One year, however, when I rang the doorbell, the answer was, “No, not yet. I want to make a blueberry pie for my husband first. Then you can come over and pick some.” I walked away from the door, feeling sad that my plans for the afternoon had just been thwarted.  Continue reading