My Victory Garden Part I

Last year was quite a year for me, in many ways. It started when I found out I was pregnant on April 29th. A few days after that, my garage was burned down with both cars inside it.

After we replaced both cars and got started on a new garage, our basement was flooded with sewage. At least when we flooded again in July clean-up was easier because everything had already been ruined!

What does this have to do with a victory garden, you ask? Everything. As the 4 fire departments who responded to our call were dousing our garage, I crumbled into my husband’s arms.

I realized my compost was gone! 3 years of work were literally up in smoke! Collecting scraps in the kitchen, mixing them in with weeds and grass clippings, turning the compost to aerate it–all gone.

As my husband calculated the money and aggravation spent on buying two new cars and a new building, I calculated the loss of my hummingbird and butterfly garden. He dealt with the Village on condemning the building and boarding it up. I memorialized all the hours I spent in my first real garden.

This was our first home with a yard. My garden is where I buried all my stress. I went there to cultivate my dreams, to nurture my soul. A fire wiped out these meaningful symbols in mere minutes. The rest of the garden season was a loss-no veggie garden, no perrenial garden, no more natives. I hardly saw any butterflies and the birds kept away from my charred yard.

Fast forward to this year. I have a wonderful, healthy son. The cars are replaced and garage built. We’ve recovered from the basement disasters. And I have my garden back! I spent my April mornings (before my little one woke up) clearing out the charred remains of my garage. Gone is the last of the nails, roof tiles and broken glass. I’ve replaced many of the hummingbird plants with new ones. A new composter and rain barrel are connected to my garage.

My husband and I built raised beds that total almost 80 square feet of organic vegetable plants. We are growing over a dozen different fruits and vegetables, many chosen with my son in mind. And I’m growing raspberries because I’m nostalgic about the bushes growing behind my garage as a kid. Brussels sprouts as homage to my husband’s grandfather. Hot peppers to replicate the salsa verde we enjoyed in New Mexico 6 years ago. Cucumbers for pickling. Asparagus to delight us next spring. Tomatoes for canning and making my great aunt’s secret sauce recipe.

My new garden is different than my previous one, yet it’s still a reflection of where I am in life. My pre-fire garden was much more random with little planning. Morning glories and I were constantly in battle. Transplants from my condo’s patio garden were starting to look anemic. This new garden has been landscaped with my rough-housing dogs in mind. I chose a lower-maintenance plan in anticipation of my little guy. A new lawn makes my husband happy. New bulbs and bright pinks make me smile.

On a rare, warm morning last week, I was in the garden getting some work done before it was time to open shop. I went through a mental list of what was left to get done, and then it struck me–my garden is about the journey, not the destination. It is the one (and only one!) place in my life where I’m glad that the work is never done. That, too, is a victory for me.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    B Alexander said,

    So well put! Congrats Maria!


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