An army of multi-colored sunflowers stood guard against my garden fence, their bright and showy blooms following their namesake across the sky each day.
Plump, warm tomatoes hung from sprawling branches no cage could contain and mingled with sweet basil and savory green onions. Oregano and thyme trailed over the garden wall, perfuming the air each time we brushed past.
I scavenged through cookbooks and websites in search of new recipes to utilize the bountiful harvest. Graceful flowers mixed with aromatic greenery covered tabletops and counters. The essence of summer permeated our home.
After the success of last Spring’s garden I decided to kick it up a notch: this year I would grow all my plants from seeds. I would be a suburban organic farmer and locovore extraordinaire. Better Homes & Gardens would be knocking on my jasmine covered garden gate begging to do a photo shoot.
I planted my two favorite varieties of tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, green onions, chives, sweet red onions, yellow squash, zucchini, four types of peppers and two kinds of corn. I worked organic manure into the soil with my thinly gloved hands. I tied homemade tomato cages together with biodegradable twine. I nurtured my seedlings with daily waterings, organic fertilizers…I may have even sang to them a few times, encouraging them to grow vigorous and healthy. I was going to have a garden to rival Martha-Freaking-Stewart.
Then the trouble began.
A family of field mice conducted nightly raids on the yellow squash and zucchini decimating the harvest until Hubby wiped them out in revenge. The young plants never recovered (though neither did the mouse colony).
My tender seedlings needed daily watering. The lack of rainfall this Spring doubled my monthly water bill.
Finally the rains came and brought with them a plague of mosquitoes so thick I had to douse myself with half a bottle of Deep Woods Off AND wear long sleeves, pants, and an utterly unattractive scarf/hat combo just to pull a few of the never-ending weeds erupting from the soil.
Then came this Amazonian heat and humidity. Summertime arrived with its red hot guns blaring. June brought afternoon highs topping 100 degrees. Nighttime temps hovered in the 70s. Just a peek at the garden and I was soaked with sweat. All I could do was stay inside and hide in the A/C.
Unfortunately, my garden wanted to do the same…
The weeds and repressive heat threw a coup d’etat on my garden. My harvest consisted of one dish of lackluster tomatoes. One 3 by 5 inch dish. Only brittle skeletons of my beloved herbs and crops remain. The once beautiful plot now looks as if it was the victim of a forest fire or plague of locust. The wild weeds have taken over and mutant mosquitoes reign over the land like Dracula’s spawn.
Bye bye dreams of BH& G. Screw you summer and Martha-Freaking-Stewart. Screw. You.
Next year I’m just going to hit the farmers market and save my sanity and my skin.
I get the point Mother Nature. I know who’s the boss now.