Why didn’t anyone warn me, when I was blathering on about the meditative benefits of gardening, planting 400 hundred seedlings spread out all over an acre of yard that July would come? Oh, July, how I hate you with your 85+ morning temps, and your hundred degree afternoons. How I hate the way you wilt my plants before I even wake up in the morning, and how you encourage the weeds to grow while I have my back turned.
July has conspired with the caterpillars to rob me of my roma tomatoes, my bell peppers, my squash and cucumber and watermelon. Before even the tiniest squashling appears after a blossom, the plants are ravaged by worms and heat. (I should confess here that the tomatoes that do make it end up thrown into my mouth on the way to the kitchen. I’m the only one who can appreciate them properly, anyway) I’ve lost the heart to fight them, and I get the vapors every time I’m out there without a beer for longer than 20 minutes. This morning I cut some zinnias and dune sunflowers to arrange in vases, and by the time I was through cutting, there were six vases of flowers and enough sweat pouring off me to fill the vases. I visited the mystery plant, some kind of leafy green that came with the broccoli plants salvaged from my uncle’s nursery, and for the first time all season I clipped some leaves to sauté with butter.
The front flowerbeds are all but forgotten, left to fend for themselves under the weeds and in drought conditions. Curiously, it seems that the more I leave a plant alone, the better the plant will perform for me. I’ll take it, July. Send me inside and nurture my plants for me while I play Call of Duty, OK? See you in September, plants!