Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Constant Gardener

I heard a proverb once: (roughly) If you want happiness for an hour, open a bottle of wine. If you want happiness for a year, fall in love. If you want happiness for a lifetime, plant a garden.

Earlier this month, I commandeered* the back space of our apartment building, and am currently planting, so, at the end of the summer, I will tell you if I know anything about this last bit of the ancient proverb.

Not that I am a total novice to growing. I'm a pretty decent fire escape gardener (if there is such a thing).

The picture below is my grapefruit mint, my pride and joy. I wintered her inside, and this spring, transplanted her in a larger pot.

It's hard to live in my neighborhood sometimes. I mean it's beautiful. But, sometimes too beautiful. When I go for runs near the park, I pass block after block of beautiful brownstones with decades old gardens. Then I come home and stare at the brown swatch that is under my care, and wonder if anything I plant will actually grow.

Though, one way or the other, I'll have my grapefruit mint.

*obviously, when I say commandeer, I mean I asked my landlord, Jerry, very nicely if it would be okay if I planted a little, and he said he thought it would be. And then I said, well, okay, if you're sure it's okay. And he said, yeah, I think it's fine. And then I said, okay, well, thanks very much.
That's what I mean by commandeer.


  1. good luck with your garden. We (when I say we I mean james) planted a garden this year and it has already shriveled up and died. We have gotten a few tomatoes. but that's it. what is grapefruit mint? does the mint taste like grapefruit?

  2. I think your plant looks awesome. I have a basil plant that is not going to make it through the summer, and it makes me so sad.

    Great commandeering skills. You could probably go into pirating if the publishing gig doesn't work out

  3. Silvia: To bad about the garden. I'm not botanist, but if I were to wager a guess, I'd say it has something to do with the fire and brimstone-like weather? Maybe if you could get some kind of plant air conditioner.
    And yeah, the mint has a slightly citrus-y taste. It's great to but it icy cold water. There is also chocolate mint, and many other mint varieties.

    Rachel: Bummer about the basil plant. I guess there will be no pesto. Though, in the long run, that's not as bad as it sounds.
    And thanks. Pirating seems a likely choice more and more each day.

  4. I too am going to attempt gardening this year. I planted seeds in homemade newspaper pots at a relief society activity and I grabbed busted plastic pots off the street on junk day. Then today I remembered that I hate bugs and dislike dirt on my fingers. Mike sprayed off my pots. I am already stressed about fertilizer and compacted dirt and bound roots. If those are the terms that I thought I heard. Good luck to all of us. Maybe that proverb only applies to people of certain backgrounds.

  5. Candace, we shall see. I'll post photos of my garden if you post of yours.