Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garden Update - Time to Grow

There's no question that our garden is thriving - well, parts of it, at least. Turns out that I should have read a little bit more carefully about row spacing when I decided to grow cucumbers. I spaced the hills three feet apart, but I didn't give them six feet horizontally until the next crop. I gave them about two. Which means they're now alternating between strangling the lettuce, my green beans, and Greg's beautiful lawn that finally came in. Whoops.

I couldn't help but feel a little discouraged and disgusted with myself for not planning things better when I realized that they were spiraling out of control because I hadn't given them nearly enough space. One of my first thoughts was "Grampa never would have planted them like this."

Grampa Bridges, my great-grandfather, was an amazing vegetable grower. I think of him often when I'm out picking green beans or lettuce. I miss the giant sunflowers he grew next to the fence in his thriving backyard, and the tee-pee with flowering scarlet runner beans growing all the way up to the top. It was the perfect place for great-grandchildren to explore at family gatherings.

But then I realized something. By the time I was wandering through Grampa Bridge's garden in awe, he was not just a grandfather, but a GREAT grandfather. I have years and years of learning and making mistakes before I make an impression like Grampa did!

And that realization made me smile, not just about gardening, but about a lot of things. I grew up in the footsteps of some truly amazing people, whose skills I regard with awed admiration. Who else grows flowers like Grammie Ruth? Vegetables like Grampa Bridges? Has the patience and personality of my great-grandmother Mimi? The truly, truly good heart of Gram? The knitting and baking skills of my mother? Woodworking and sailing saavy like Dad?

But now I realize the trick - they weren't born that way. They worked towards becoming the wonderful people they are and who I will always remember. And they had time to do it. It'll be at least five years before Will starts really remembering my cooking, gardening, knitting, and sewing. I can have those crooked curtains fixed, and my cucumbers in a better location by then, I'm sure of it.

People always say you should never stop learning, cliche cliche, blah blah blah. But now I realize that these coming years are a true opportunity to become the person I want my children to remember me as. And then I'll have even more time to become the grandmother I want to be. It's kind of exciting.

So it's ok that my cucumbers are trying to take over the world, and I feel like laughing whenever I look at my overcrowded garden. (Didn't want to thin things out appropriately because those plants just looked so little and innocent... how can you choose which ones live? I'd rather eat crooked carrots. This year.)

I'll figure it out. I've got time.

Myself, top, with sister Elizabeth and relative Alex peeking out of Grampa's scarlet runner bean tee-pee.

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