I have been working on some collage/mixed media pieces and have finished a group of four, each 12 ” x 12″, on a 3/8″ board surface that came already primed. I painted randomly on each one of them and then added some papers I found interesting. At that point, the pieces began to diverge and I worked on one at a time, until all four were finished. I will give each one its own bit of attention in the next few posts.
For this one, “This Tangled Garden Suits Me”, the initial paint and papers gave me the feeling of the summer sky on a hot day. From that snippet of an impression I remembered my garden in our back yard and how things went last year in that small bit of land surrounded by a wavery wire fence.
I had grown vegetables off and on in the past, with the most recent time being the summer previous to last year. Inevitably the weeds proved stronger-willed than I was – the garden became a tangled mess. Surprisingly enough, my plants grew pretty well despite the competition, but I always felt I was doing wrong – the tomatoes, squash, and eggplants deserved a more dedicated gardener. I embarrassed myself when I looked at the garden, though no one else thought a thing of it. I didn’t want to garden anymore, I thought – it was so much work and I wasn’t doing it!
But I like to grow things. So last summer I decided the garden would be different. I would grow flowers, my favorites: sunflowers, marigolds, and zinnias. Morning glories on the fence. I would have four tomato plants only. No other vegetables. And I would not worry about the weeds.
I cleared out the space, put in a little path of stepping-stones, set up a bird bath, and added a small table (so that I could set my gardening tools down and still find them). I planted the seeds. I did nothing else, with the exception of setting up some netting over the sunflower seeds until they sprouted – the birds would eat them otherwise.
The flowers all came up and grew just beautifully – the morning glories on the fence were also a huge success, though deer ate some later in the summer. And – I got four volunteer squash plants, descendents of the ones I had planted last year – I guess some fruits had escaped my eye and gone back to the earth, with this result. Anyway, they were enthusiastic producers and we had wonderful meals from them all summer. The tomatoes didn’t do much, but then, most people had trouble with tomatoes last year, it seemed, with the very hot weather.
I also had weeds. Grass more than ankle high. Purply ground ivy. Some big-leafed low-growing green plants. Some kind of taller, smaller-leafed ones. And more. It was a mess, really. But – the vegetables and flowers didn’t seem to mind – the squash vines wound their way around the birdbath and the sunflowers were thick and tall. The zinnias were above waist-height and their brilliant flowers lasted and lasted. Even when the deer ate the morning glory blossoms I didn’t get upset – I took the remnants of the vines that I could untwine from the fence and got them to accept the table as their new support.
Every day I looked at this scene and I had a big smile on my face. Already I am looking forward to this year’s garden.
So here in this picture you see a memory and also, I hope, the future.
“This Tangled Garden Suits Me”
12″ x 12″