Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Eggplant and peppers

A friend put in an industrial quantity of seeds this past February, and then with wild generosity, gave us a tray full. Among the gift plants were several squash. [This made us very nervous after our near plague-scale infestation of squash bugs last summer... more on that later.] And 4 globe eggplants. 5 or 6 basil--which we put into a spot where they didn't get enough sun; transplanted into the garden proper where they are now just starting to really dig in.

Eggplant?! Member of the nightshade family, like tomatoes and peppers. With those demure flowers that never look up. I have grown some lush yummy basil, but I've never met an eggplant plant before. When Gloria gently pushed aside the top leaves to reveal a large lavender blossom nestled in the crown of the little plant, resting crosswise like a baby, I was smitten.

Growing up, we grew yard plants... big serious things for hedges. Tough, handsome things for borders. Landscape plants. Annuals were froofy--frowned on. And in one way or another, we distanced ourselves (Webbs Wholesale Nursery Inc) from farmers, gardeners, and amateur flower enthusiasts. We had the remnants of a once sprawling orange grove: 15 acres? And a Key Lime in the back for my mother. I have an abiding conviction that I know a lot about plants. But up until now, have never had a veggie garden.

I am head over heels in love. Strapped in for that excruciating, exhilarating roller-coaster ride--watching the smallest rustle and furl. Admiring the fall of light on leaf: the beloved.

Swooning over the rainbow chard, hopelessly in love with pea vines and their darling flowers, speechless over the squash blossoms (male and female flowers?!), delighted to rustle the leaves of a young pepper plant and bump into a chili the size of my thumb. The bok choy sprouts make me greedy and impatient; I can already taste them.

Breathless: love, fear, appetite--commitment.

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