Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On Not Gardening

 Rhubarb, 2016

This is what our garden looked like the day we said goodbye. We’ve given up gardening, at least for now. There were a variety of reasons we chose this option.

One of those reasons was the incessant watering required to grow vegetables (we aren’t really the ornamental garden type) during drought months (roughly half of each year), and the rate in which the freshly dampened soil returns to dusty dry dirt. It’s downright depressing and seeing it happen in this up-close-and-personal way leaves one wondering if California should truly be the produce paradise that it is.

Gardening started to feel unnatural, which of course it is, in the true sense of the word, unlike nature. But there was the promise of fresh rhubarb tempting us, so we carried on, for a while.

There were also the logistics of getting to the garden, toting garden clothes, tools, gloves, and shoes, and then getting back home. This was not a backyard project.

Protecting the plants from critters such as skunks, raccoons, rodents, and a variety of birds was another challenge. We used bird netting, but then began to worry about the possibility of birds getting caught and injured, or worse. What were our other options? Building something more stable? Would we need tools? Lumber? Did we really want to tame nature? We were having doubts.

Lastly, there were community garden politics and community garden gossip. To avoid joining in, I’ll say no more.

I am well aware that these are issues only a very lucky person can complain about. We waited 8 years before getting this garden plot. It seems we should be happily dealing with all of the above, but instead we channeled Bartleby, so off the plot goes to the next in line. I hope the new gardeners use the plot as long as they find doing so enjoyable, and then pass it on to the next people who want to give it a go.

The truth is that I don’t really miss gardening. There, I’ve said it. Call me fickle. I understand. It just might be true. For now, I prefer admiring the not-so-natural-yet-beautiful elements others in my neighborhood have chosen to tame, eating farmers market fruits and vegetables, and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to explore Mother Nature’s more wild side.

Farewell, dear rhubarb. I wish you well.

20 comments:

  1. I'm sorry it proved too difficult in so many ways, but I do understand... I once thought I wanted more gardening space than I have in my own back yard, so I signed up for a community garden plot across town and requiring driving, toting tools, etc. I couldn't keep up... And those fellow gardeners can be very cruel. The caretaker of a neighboring plot slipped an old glove on one of my fence posts with the middle finger raised and the rest folded down -- surely a sign of protest against my weedy patch. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You cannot be serious about that glove! That's going way too far. :(

      Delete
  2. I used to love to garden--before I had acres of my own land to tame. Now I leave the gardening to my husband and the farmer's market and spend the summer in my hammock. Nothing to be ashamed of.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Denise, off and on through the years, we've had a nice garden in my brother's office backyard---odd, but a sunny patch that historically has been a garden (Old Man Hooper, the neighbor started it) I have mixed feelings. in years that we didn't plant, (like last year) I felt both sad and relieved. This year, we planted, and the garden feels like a good place, grounding, especially with all the upheaval of moving. But I totally get your desire to not garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm certain there's something special about a gardening space started by Old Man Hooper. ;)

      Delete
  4. You gardened,and now that time has passed.
    Onward!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think you made a choice that was best for you...and for where you live. Life is always changing and evolving...so too must we!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This all sounds good, and right for you. I like gardening in pots. So easy. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Was this the community garden at Fort Mason?
    Inquiring minds, and all....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you a member? If so, I hope you saw my rhubarb at its best and not at its worst. ;)

      Delete
  8. I so understand this Denise!!! I retired a couple years ago and I have been trying all the things I thought I would love to do "if I had the time". Some are working out, and others I have accepted are not for me. Gardening is one of the things that did not work out. Thank goodness I figured it out before I had my husband build me a bunch of garden beds! I have narrowed it down to a tomato plant and some basil. I do enjoy a stroll through the farmers market. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had to admit lately that I'm a crap gardener. We bought our little house because it had two huge yards and I had dreams of being Capability Brown, but really I organize poorly and am not the greatest nurturer plus I hate bugs that bite, the heat of summer and aching shoulders. In this present climate of Flower Farmer phonemes I've felt rather a failure, but I still try to grow dahlias and chrysanthemum because I'm a flower slut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being a good gardener is a commitment. Priorities must be weighed. Flower slut! Ha! Love it. Carry on! ;)

      Delete
  10. Entertaining copious numbers of critters in our suburban backyard and unintentionally providing them with a salad buffet, I gave up and planted herbs in pots for that "fresh from the garden" feeling. I miss the tomatoes, but then so do the chipmunks.

    ReplyDelete