The Milkweed Diaries

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The apple does not fall. . .

. . . too far from the tree.

I went to visit my mom & dad last week, and took some photos of the amazing garden installation that my dad has been creating for some months now, in which my parents have been growing herbs, vegetables, and fruits this summer.

The structure is a dodecagon, a 12-sided shape, made up of ten waist-high raised beds coming together in twelve angles supported by locust posts.

The project, which my mom refers to as "The Eighth Wonder" is not finished yet, but it is already very impressive. When my dad is done, there will be some sides left open for entrances into the lovely enclosed sitting area, and a grape arbor on top (you can see the locust posts ready to hold up the arbor in the photo above).

My dad has the idea that when he is "an old man with a cane" he'll be able to walk right up to the counter-height beds and tend his garden without any stooping or bending. It's so easy and convenient that it makes me want to build tall raised beds for now, not just for when I'm a cane-carrying oldster.

The sides of the beds are made of untreated wood of varying widths, colors, and textures-beautifully diverse boards that have been lying around in my parents' garage for 5, 10, or 25 years.

My mom's initial skepticism of The Eighth Wonder has turned to appreciation, and she and I visited the garden to check on the basil, tomatoes, amaranth,
sunflowers and okra one night before dinner.

We harvested what we believe to be a Small Sugar pumpkin, pictured at left.

The next morning, I had some of my mom's homemade blueberry jam from their blueberry harvest, swirled in yogurt. Yum!

I am so grateful to both of my parents for instilling in me a sense of wonder, a love and respect for the natural world, a knowledge of where food comes from, and a zeal for gardening.

I remember working in the vegetable garden with my dad and helping my mom weed her flower gardens from the time I was a very small child. From childhood onward, both of my parents have nurtured in me my natural curiosity, love of growing things, passion for food and cooking, and appreciation of the healing and nourishing power of plants.

It would be impossible to list all of the gifts my parents have given me, all of the ways that I am thankful for them, but I'll start here: thanks for teaching me to feel at home in the garden!


Dana said...

Big up to your parents and to your Dad thinking ahead like that, preparing for old age and all. My dad thinks ahead too. One time for Halloween he dressed like a baby and asked me to help him put a diaper on for his costume. He said, "come on D- it's good practice for later." Here's to dads who think ahead, in whatever way, shape or form.

jack-of-all-thumbs said...

Brought a lump to my throat. My dad (gone for thirty years) gave me a love of things green, having a small greenhouse in his last few years. I started my blog a few years ago, using the title of "jack of all thumbs" as a play on words, since I do a lot of things...badly.

I had completely forgotten that his greenhouse 'business' was entitled 'All Thumbs Nursery'. Entirely too eerie when you think about the 'jack' concept in old England.

Milkweed said...

Thanks D, & Thanks Jack-of-Green Thumbs-of-the-Wood!

Here's to planning ahead, beloved family, & handed-down traditions of food-growing...

May all of your thumbs be green.