Year of the garden

That’s a foot-long rattlesnake … watermelon.

That’s a foot-long rattlesnake … watermelon.

I loafe and invite my soul,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass

—Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

The hippie inside “Each day, as soon as I wake up, I can’t wait to go outside and be near the garden. I might pull some weeds, clip a few overgrown vines, but usually I’ll just stand and stare, communing with the flowers and vegetables as my spirit is renewed for another day.”

You know where that quote is from? I’ll give you no guesses: It’s … Arts DEVO. I know, I’m as surprised as anyone about my recent “hippiefication.” But ever since Mrs. DEVO and I bought a house a year ago and started taking care of the yard and planted our first-ever garden, I’ve been barefoot outside more than I ever had before. I think about plants and weeds and dirt and water and worms and bees nearly every day. Just standing in the garden gets my happy juices flowing as much as running, or playing music, or drinking happy juice. Now, a day without getting my hands dirty is an incomplete day.

Hey, where’d all that come from?!

The only negative with this whole new development is that it’s taken me so damn long to figure it out! It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that, for nearly my entire life, I have never paid attention to things growing. Which is a really sad realization to come to. As a kid, I never worked in the yard (unless I was being punished with weed-pulling), and as an adult I’ve always lived in rentals where I either contributed to the neglect of the property or watched with relief as the landlord’s landscapers did the sweating.

In the last year, though, I’ve sweated plenty—pulling weeds, destroying Japanese privet trees (with prejudice), and planting and then staying out of the way as my garden burst into the air and toward the sun.

The jasmine, daylilies, geraniums, hydrangeas and autumn sage have been blooming for a while, but it’s the fruit-and-vegetable garden with which I’ve been most engaged, and the much-anticipated heirloom tomatoes, melons, cucumbers and peppers are just coming to fruition.

Whatever gardening successes I’ve had have been thanks in large part to many helpful YouTubing gardeners and to the wonderful trio of Trish, Kerra and DeAndra at Magnolia Gift & Garden (1367 East Ave.). This hip oasis on the east side of town has been my go-to shop for plants and advice, and the three chill nursery assistants have helped me choose what to grow and patiently schooled me on the basics of how to keep things alive. If you want friendly no-nonsense expert help (and rad stuff for your yard and garden), Magnolia is AD’s recommendation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some leaning and loafing to get to.