Monday, June 22, 2020

Surrogate Gardens

We’ve been quarantining now since mid-March. We’re tired of being more or less shut in, we’re sad and upset about the ongoing racism that’s led us to this moment of social upheaval, and -45 is STILL president, dammit. (SERIOUSLY, what would he have to DO that he hasn't already DONE?!?). 

Here at home, it’s a miracle we haven’t set the place ablaze or tripped each other down the stairs. There is such a thing as too much togetherness, and I swear our kitchen is shrinking a little bit every day. We're each spending waaaay more time (but not at the SAME time) on the porch or in the back yard...

"Feed me, Seymour." --Bleeding Heart Bushes

Ray...are you in there?

I think one reason we’re still able to occupy the same space is that we’re taking it out on the gardens—all this pent up frustration about social distancing, the lack of life-giving and brain-stimulating human physical contact (HPC) except for one’s quarantine “family,” and our thwarted genetically-nomadic desire to travel—it’s all being channeled into gardens. This is how it’s manifesting here at Uncannery Re-Row:

1.     PPC. We have crammed into a relatively tiny garden space tomatoes (enough to supply a canning factory), a variety of peppers, a wall of cucumbers, greens, watermelon, and six kinds of herbs. That’s on ONE end. On the other end are salvia, iris, columbine, bergenia, and a hydrangea bush that knows no boundaries. On the side of the garden are daylilies and two bleeding heart shrubs so huge they will demand human blood soon. Our garden plants are surrogates. Plant physical contact. PPC.
2.     Travel. We can’t go anywhere, but our gardens can represent. This year we planted a peach tree (Colorado); our back fence is lined with hollyhocks (the past, my grandma); we planted honeysuckle vines (the south); I potted up and set out several cactus gardens (southwest); and we planted some heirloom vegetable varieties (exotic destinations). We also dug and planted a new garden this year, a prairie butterfly/hummingbird garden (staycation).
3.     Social Distancing. In the garden at least, we rebel, we defy this. Plants that started two feet apart are now elbow to elbow and, in some cases, overlapping. They do not wear masks. They breathe right on each other. They sing if they feel like it.

Our weather has been strange and strangely beneficial for our “venting gardens;” we had a round of baking summer, with temps in the upper 90’s, during which we had to water every day. And now we’re having a lovely spring, with several days of rain showers and a thunderstorm here & there. In the past 3 days of rain, the cucumber vines have grown 6 feet. I think they strangled the neighbor’s cat. Soon we’ll have a rainforest, so if you don’t hear from us for a while, we’re probably just whizzing along on our ecotourist [tomato] canopy zip line…


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