There’s something about waking up to a frost-killed begonia that makes me feel terribly sad. Even though I knew the cold was coming and was willing to sacrifice said begonia to Jack Frost, I still was sad and surprised to see the level of forlornness evidenced in that withered plant.
I covered my tomatoes and my two pretty marigolds, took in my geraniums – even the scraggly two-year old ones – but I chose to leave the begonias and pansies alone. The pansies are still beautiful and unmolested. The begonias are mush.
And so begins autumn in Minnesota.
I like autumn. I like that it’s not so bloomin’ hot outside. I like hearing and seeing the combines at work, leaving the fields surrounding my house stubbly, as if their razors were set on “five o’clock shadow” as opposed to “smooth and kissable”. Yes, this is how I think about fields. I am not a farmer, nor a farmer’s wife, nor even the daughter of a farmer.
Possibly somewhere back in Scotland my ancestors farmed…but I can’t even guarantee that.
Perhaps that is why my thumbs are a rather pale shade of green. I can grow nice cherry tomatoes, for example, but any big tomatoes I plant – every year, without fail – rot on the vine before they’re ripe and dash my hopes of lining my larder with gleaming jars of canned goodness. I keep trying, though. I’m an optimist.
I’m afraid that the sad truth is that, when it comes to gardening, I’m pathetic. I planted some parsley this year, and thyme, too. They both look lovely, even after the frost. But I never used them. Not once. Okay, maybe once. But my point is, I forgot about them. I watered them. But I never cooked with them. What kind of a gardener forgets to use her garden?
A disheveled gardener, that’s who.
But, disheveled or not, I enjoy my attempts at gardening. Just don’t come to my house expecting to chow down on a plethora of my own home-grown veggies.
That’s what the Farmer’s Market is for.