It is time, now, in the glory of mid-summer, to reap the harvest
from the garden. The tomatoes are hanging plump and red from the
vine, the cukes are sprawling shiny along the edge of the lawn, and
the melons are fat and getting fatter.
The problem is, that garden is not mine. Mine is the one with
plants so wrinkled, withered, and wan that it is less a vegetable
garden than a vegetable hospital. With one exception: These
patients don't get well.
I have tried gardening time and time and time again. And my thumb
has yet to turn green.
Sometimes I water my plants too much. Other times I don't water
them enough. I've left them to wither in too much sun. I've left
them to freeze in too much shade. I have mixed the wrong soil,
added the wrong nutrients, put in the wrong mulch.
I have inadequately supported those requiring assistance: My
melancholy vines lean into too-thin sticks like drunkards against
broken lampposts. The angry ones slouch over the circular rails of
those whattaya call 'em deals that you stick in the ground to hold
up stuff that is supposed to grow.
It seems as though I am some sort of sadist, I know, but let me say
that the various ways by which garden vegetables perish under my
thumb, so to speak, are not intentional.
Oh, come on now, I hear the plant world protest. How can you NOT
grow rosemary? It grows out of rocks, for crying out loud.
I know, I know, I know. Not being able to grow rosemary is like not
being able to melt ice cream. It's impossible.
That's what everybody says. And by everybody, I mean everybody -
the smart, the stupid, the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly,
the fat, the skinny, the old, the young, the friend, the stranger,
the everybody I have ever met in my entire life.
Yet in my hands, rosemary loses its needles like Charlie Brown's