Mary says she hasn’t had time to write this week’s column and it’s my fault, so it’s up to me to explain why she is worried about missing her deadline. She is entitled to her opinion, but I think it’s because she never stopped complaining that her garden wasn’t big enough.
I can’t claim I wasn’t warned. Pretty early on in our relationship I knew that gardening was going to be taken seriously. We hadn’t been dating for more than a week when Mary came over one morning, while I was playing cards with some co-workers after a shared night shift.
“Don’t get up,” she said, when I started introducing her. “I’m just here to plant some asparagus in the back yard,” and off she went. The four of us sat in silence for a second before one spoke.
“Asparagus takes three years to fruit, doesn’t it?” she asked. I admitted that this was so, and there was another long pause.
“Pretty subtle,” she laughed. “Within the week you’ll be meeting her parents.”
It was actually three days, but the point is that I learned early to take Mary very seriously when she talks about her garden, and she had been telling me for years how small it was when old John offered to sell me the acreage across the street. At first I said no, but he kept lowering his price until I had to say yes, and Mary became the proud owner of two acres of good bottom land.
To make a long story short, that’s why Mary has me writing this column. She has 600 feet of espaliered fruit trees to deal with, and another 300 feet of raspberries and blueberries to transplant, not to mention a 60 by four foot bed of asparagus to get in if we expect to harvest any within our lifetimes. Mary has learned to be careful what she asks for; from here on she will be buying her supplies by the pallet full.
I am looking forward to this. After murdering 200 alders, busting the brush and splitting enough firewood to last for a long, long time, not to mention the wearying hours spent watching Gord Tuck pull the stumps and Gord Closson build the fence, I am enjoying every moment watching Mary put a lifetime of study and small scale experimentation to work. Knowing how her mind works, I expect that when she comes up for air she will have enough new material for any number of columns and will not need me any more.
That’s just as well, because I have a barn to finish, a greenhouse to build and several cups of tea to drink before I do either.
David (with apologies to Dan Needles)