This is the sexy, dramatic and romantic story of two
gardeners, mother and son. And two gardens, one in Arizona and one in Southern
Let’s get the sex scene out of the way up front. I (the
mother and the Californian) have been faithfully nurturing my baby squash
plants. At the first sight of male and female flowers … wait. Back up.
Some of us highly gifted gardeners – highly gifted at
looking things up on the Internet, anyway – know how to tell a male from a
female blossom. The gals have little baby squashes beneath the flower, and the
center of the flower looks like, well, female organs. (After what I saw Lady
Gaga do on TV in the American Idol finale, I suppose I shouldn’t be shy, but
some of us retain a trace of modesty). The males have long stems and the
flowers contain organs that look like … you get the idea.
So there I was, poking the male blossoms into the female
blossoms to assure fertilization. Well, my squash got the idea. Boy, did they
get the idea. It’s barely June and I’m already going to the neighbors, bags of
zucchini in hand, begging them to adopt a squash for Jackie.
For my 21-year-old son, who’s enrolled in a masters in
education program at the University of Arizona and plans to be a high school
biology teacher, matters took a more dramatic turn. Much to my surprise, he too
has become an avid gardener, starting with a love of pesto and the discovery
that it’s fun to grow your own basil.
This year, he went all out in the small garden plot behind
his apartment. Then, just as his tomato plants were ready to produce in that
hot climate, he decided to move. I don’t know all the details, but he and some
friends are getting a new place. Yes, there’s room for a garden, but it means
leaving behind the beautiful corn and tomatoes he’d planted.
A gardener loves his or her plants (this is the romance
part). It’s not just a matter of producing food or being out there with the
dive-bombing hummingbirds that keep my life interesting. Why else would I drag
myself out of bed in the early a.m. to weed, prune, feed and sprinkle black
pepper to keep the squirrels away? Or sneezing, anyway.
And so, across the miles, my son and I share a love of
growing things in the earth. And eating them. For those of you who share this
love, may your garden be bountiful and may you never have to abandon it.