The garden really comes into its own by early July. After months of excessive care, problem solving, and troubleshooting, my time spent in the garden at this point is – for the most part – relaxed. I can simply sit on the back deck and look at it. I can wander amongst the raised beds and take notice of just-opened calendula and about-to-open sunflowers. I can make guesses as to when those green tomatoes will transform into red orbs. It’s at this point in the season, every year since I’ve gardened, that I find myself wondering if there’s more I should be doing. I suppose when you spend an entire spring seeding, potting up, setting up slug and pill bug bait, laying protective netting, and hammering in stakes for trellises, it’s natural to feel confused that this period in July is simply about enjoyment.
Zen wisdom states that nothing is permanent. Times of prosperity, of happiness, of health will be followed by difficulties, sadness, and challenges. This isn’t up for debate; it’s the cycle of being alive. Zen practitioners focus their breath and awareness on being fully present in every state, uncomfortable or otherwise, recognizing that while one can’t control outside forces, one can recognize what’s actually happening and the corresponding emotion.
I water, examine, assess, and enjoy my garden daily, and yet it wasn’t until I started editing these photos snapped two weeks ago that I realized how much had changed in a short amount of time. These pictures are entirely out of date. The lettuce in the first picture was removed shortly after that picture was taken, and the bed has since been replaced by squash and seeded with runner beans. The cute little perky kale plants are now towering leafy trees. The beets are close to being harvestable and the butterhead lettuce is double in size; despite eating a head each night, we really should be eating two – we have so much lettuce!