Sunday, July 13, 2008

Show & Tell--July 13, 2008: Plan A and Nonplan B

I've been thinking a lot about the things in my life that have made me happy. It's interesting to me that many of the things that have made me happiest have happened as a collateral consequence to what I'd planned. In other words, while pursuing Plan A, Nonplan B popped up, and Nonplan B made me very happy, sometimes even happier than achieving Plan A.

Today, I'm going to cheat a little bit at Show & Tell, and take you to the garden again, to show you some tangible examples of this.

I live in a place that gets bitterly cold and snowy in the winter. So, vegetables and such shouldn't survive the winter, right? They especially shouldn't survive when I rototilled before I planted the new garden. And yet, my garden is full of "volunteers" from last year. And then there is the stuff that's been around for a little longer, but I'm just finding it in our yard. I am thrilled to discover unexpected plants, and now I'm going to share some of them with you:

This is perhaps my most exciting find, and it's not in the garden at all, but rather at the edge of the lawn. I've lived in my house for six years, and just discovered these yesterday. I have currants. . .LOADS of them. I can't believe I never noticed them before. Without the berries, they look kind of like maple leaves, which is probably why I never paid much attention to them before. But you'd think I would've noticed the berries. . .in truth, I only recognized the berries yesterday because one of you bloggers showed off your own patch a few weeks ago during Show & Tell (thanks for sharing!).

This one is back from last year! I believe the yellow flowers in the center are going to be "Magic 8 ball zucchini". The zucchinis are small and round, a little bigger than a baseball. One is a perfect portion size, sliced and grilled with olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper and a little parmesean cheese. And if you plant too many of them and can't eat them all and leave them on the plants, the fruit turns orange and look like mini-pumpkins, which is fun at Halloween.

Borage. Isn't it lovely? It's supposed to have a cucumber-like taste. You can cut the flowers and freeze them inside ice cubes, or throw them in salads. Not so hot for women trying to get pregnant, however, so I haven't tried them. I grew borage last summer as part of a special mix to try to draw beneficial insects into my garden, since I don't use pesticides. It seemed to work out okay.

Now, this one is something of a happy surprise to me. They're tomato plants, and I have about a million of them coming back from last year. I planted something like ten different heirloom varieties of tomatoes last summer, so I'm thrilled to see them coming back. But shocked. Who would've thought tomatoes would survive our harsh winter? And the rototilling this spring?

This is also something of a surprise. Parsley. I don't even remember planting parsley last summer, but there it is.

This one is in the mulch pile. I always plant mint in pots, because I don't like how invasive it is. Two falls ago, my husband dumped the pot full of mint--three kinds--into the mulch pile. And here are all three varieties, going strong despite the fact our lawn clippings have been tossed on top of them for weeks.

And finally, I've got sunflowers growing amidst the corn.

It's such a little thing, but I was thrilled to discover all of these unexpected plants. It was such a nice surprise, and particuarly as things in the garden grow and get big enough for me to be able to identify them, I'm discovering more and more. Nonplan B is spontaneous joy, both in plants and in life. I'm wondering what in my life will next spring up when I least expect it, bringing me happiness. What collateral happiness will I find in Nonplan B, as I pursue my next Plan A both professionally and in terms of my family? I'm excited to find out the answer to this.

And then there are the things that have come into bloom in the last week or are ripening on the vine, aka Plan A:

You're probably sick of my garden by now, but it's one of the things that brings me peace and joy, both when it's Plan A, and when Nonplan B comes along. And right now, I am happily living with and waiting for the next thing to happen in both realms.


JamieD said...

The pictures of your garden are so beautiful, I can only imagine what it looks like in real life!! I can't believe the frozen/rototilled plants even grew back.

I love echinacea . . .

Io said...

It's all so pretty! I am so glad my plants came back this year all over.

Michell said...

very pretty. I love gardens.

Nit said...

I love your garden especially all of the colorful flowers!!

Lori said...

You must have a terribly green thumb.

Beautiful yard. Looks like my version of paradise.