May 23 • 05:13 PM

Seeds of irony found in garden

June 30, 2010
Doesn't it figure? My compost pile rivals any container garden I could dream up. There's tomatoes, squash, broccoli, sunflowers and morning glories spilling over the sides. That's the backyard. In the front, sudden death has struck one of two salvias. What was a bushy, bee magnet only a few weeks ago turned brown in a matter of days. And no, neither I nor my Round-Up bottle were recently in the area.

As much as I love this time of year, it seems to be a perpetual game of catch-up in the garden. Basking in the long days of late June, signs of real growth in the garden are everywhere—the early beans are getting bushy, the tomatoes are more than ready for their cages, and the overachieving thyme and oregano need to be tamed. For better or worse, the seed packets tell me I can keep planting into July. Just when I think a bed is established, something goes and dies on me (like a salvia) and I'm wondering if it's an opportunity or a sign. Despite the 'Two-Row Stonecrop' groundcover that shoots up amazing hot pink flowers, the impossible to pull weeds of young Queen Anne's Lace are poking through. I managed to pull quite a few weeds after Sunday's rain but I notice slugs have been dining on the hostas. Time to remedy that with some beer…maybe I'll take a couple of swigs while I'm at it.

I have to remind myself that these are the days I dreamed of back in December—warm, sunny, wonderful. These are the days—hard work and sweat included—that I planned and plotted for. It's for days like these that I spent the other seven months of the year doing the mundane, indoor-only chores like cleaning behind my stove, swiping at the spider webs in the closet and tackling the mounds of seed corn, fuel and fertilizer bills. These glorious days—highlighted with an exuberant sun that pokes me awake at six and hangs on until ten—are the subject of poems I pen in March when it seems like summer is years, not months, in the future.

Thank goodness June has arrived! Can you only imagine how I feel about July?

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Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she now resides north of Capac where she enjoys working on the farm, gardening and reading.
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