Canadian Thanksgiving seems like a perfect time to reflect on my garden. Thanksgiving is a time of harvest. Thanksgiving is also a time to recognize all those people and joys in your life for which you are grateful. Although not one of my greatest accomplishments: I am grateful for my garden. My garden kept me busy every weekend – planting, weeding, watering, pruning, weeding…weeding. I loved the whole idea of the garden and that by having it – and caring for it – I was a “gardener”.
We created a very idyllic garden with a fence made of chicken wire attached to posts made from dead trees from the property. We had seen the occasional rabbit on the property and we didn’t want to share our bountiful harvest with these inhabitants or the local deer. We laid down silvered branches between the various crops to give the garden a country charm. I painted rocks with all of the various crop names. I even created adorable little garden signs to identify the garden as a place of creativity and life. A cute little herb garden was planted as well carefully marked with the same care and attention. There were some pretty big expectations back in the spring.
Every weekend when I went to tend the garden I could tell that my plants had grown. The tomatoes needed to be staked, and the pumpkin plants spread out and started crowding the kohlrabi plants. I felt such pride in my little garden. It was full of life and brought me joy. Why then did it hardly produce any vegetables? My beets never really grew into anything edible, the corn produced “mini corns” and the tomatoes never really ripened on the vines. I never got one cucumber out of those plants and the zucchini, which should grow plentiful, only provided me about three squashes. Those giant pumpkin plants that were taking over the garden only produced one pumpkin about the size of an apple. Was it the unusually hot summer we had? Was it a lack of bees to pollinate my squash flowers? Can a gardener really just have “brown thumbs”? Can you even call yourself a gardener if you hardly produce any produce?
The garden did produce some potatoes, some tiny beets, swiss chard, green peppers, one single butternut squash, a few beans, peas, radishes and some small carrots. The herb garden did flourish (but with very little tending). For these I am grateful. I am mostly grateful that they photographed well – looking all healthy, vibrant and full of colour.
The garden also came with an asparagus patch planted by the last owners. These spring time treasures gave me the illusion of being a successful gardener… or at least a “garden photographer” – a grateful brown thumbed photographer.