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In The Garden

(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "in the garden")

I grew up in rural Ohio and for as long as I could remember, my family had a garden. Sometimes, it was in the corner of our backyard. Other years, my father would have a plot given to him by the elderly lady who lived across the street from us. He would mow her yard, do weekend handy, deal with yard pests work in exchange for it. (side note: I once saw my father stick a gun down a gopher/mole hole and also blow the head off a pesky rodent who was nibbling at our plants). We would grow tomatoes, beets, peas, green beans, potatoes and many other things. My mother would often can the produce so we would have it during the winter (either her green beans or beeat were so good that they took first prize at the county fair...heck, it may have been both of them actually. I can't remember exactly). I would also always get to choose a plant or two to grow in this garden we would have...sometimes I'd go with flowers, but often times, i would grow pumpkins or watermelons, so i could later have a fruit stand in my grandparents' front yard (since they lived around the corner on a much busier street) and earn some bonus money in addition to my allowance.

Flash forward to me living in Los Angeles. I'm getting more into food. I'd love to have a little herb garden or something. It's a concrete jungle. Sure, there are community gardens, but they are nowhere near where I live & there are waiting lists to get just a smidge of a plot. My father was dying & my boyfriend was looking to give me anything, something that could give me a lasting piece of my father. I was sinking into a deep depression & having the beginning signs of the anxiety problems that I still struggle with years later. He bought me a garden box for my birthday & got permission from the landlord to put it outside our building in some open space. I didn't touch the box for almost 8 months....too depressed, too sick, other excuses. Then in April of 2012, it came to life....I planted some herbs in it, but I thought....let's plant a couple other things too. Brendan had access to all these wooden wine boxes at his work, so he brought some home. we made planters out of them and I planted a pepper plant in one. it was like having a memory of my father with me.

Then winter (by LA standards) came....it actually got cold enough to frost and the cold weather destroyed almost everything...esxcept the pepper plant that was hanging by a single branch.

In spring 2013, Brendan came up with a genius idea: a garden box stand. Something that could not only house the garden box that he bought me, but also allow me to have additional plants in wooden wine boxes as well. He sketched it out meticulously like an engineer or architect, bought all the lumber and built it by hand. My job? to weather seal & paint it.....any color I wanted. That was task by itself....so many colors to choose from. I went with a lavender purple....something girly that would compliment all the green that was going to appear.

Now I do not have the greenest of thumbs.....my cilantro always dies, my basil always struggles. It also took a hit when we went on vacation and the girl I asked to water everything forgot a day or two when it just so happened to be a heat wave in L.A., but it seems to have hit its stride. My cilantro? needs to be replanted. it died (of course it did). My basil? struggling...i'm about to replace it for like the 4th time. My flowers are good...in fact, they are jumping to other boxes...those rascals. we have tomatoes, garlic, peppers, oregano, mint, rosemary, the peas that I just planted are starting to come up (hope I have better luck than the last time when they all died). And that first pepper plant? Still chugging along.

The first pepper plant...still chugging along...fighting the good fight


The garden box that started it all:


In the foreground, the newbies of the garden...the peas


garlic, herbs, tomatoes and more:

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Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
mac_arthur_park
Sep. 30th, 2014 10:25 pm (UTC)
I really love this, especially with the addition of pictures.

And style points for the pink flamingo. :)
aimercat
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:20 am (UTC)
there is a reason for the flamingo....my boyfriend has a "past" with them. that is all I will say at this time (because it might be another entry down the line)
_luaineach
Oct. 1st, 2014 01:08 am (UTC)
Lovely!
aimercat
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:20 am (UTC)
thanx
xlovebecomesher
Oct. 1st, 2014 02:44 am (UTC)
Love your garden!
aimercat
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:21 am (UTC)
thanx. i love that I have an awesome boyfriend smart enough to make it a reality for me. He also created the litterbox holder that I wrote about when the LJ Idol topic was "building a better mousetrap"
roina_arwen
Oct. 1st, 2014 03:43 am (UTC)
Very pretty! I don't have a green thumb, alas. (Cute flamingo!)

Edited at 2014-10-01 03:43 am (UTC)
aimercat
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:21 am (UTC)
everyone loves the flamingo...i got it in the dollar bins at Target!
jem0000000
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:28 am (UTC)
It looks lovely. :)
aimercat
Oct. 2nd, 2014 07:12 am (UTC)
thanx
jem0000000
Oct. 6th, 2014 04:12 am (UTC)
You're welcome.
n3m3sis43
Oct. 1st, 2014 09:55 am (UTC)
I keep telling myself I am going to grow things. We have land because we are out in the boonies, but deer will actually eat a lot of plants. Also, I am lazy. But I really, really want fresh tomatoes, because grocery store ones suck!

Good job with your garden. :)
aimercat
Oct. 2nd, 2014 07:13 am (UTC)
you can get a standing tomato plant that you could put closer to your house. The deer might not come after that. I think there is also natural stuff that you can get to deter the deer.
n3m3sis43
Oct. 2nd, 2014 09:50 am (UTC)
The deer will sometimes come up on our back porch and right up in the front yard. So I'm not sure if there is a close enough, heh. I have heard that "blood meal" (ew?) and also urine may deter deer. I'm sure there must be other solutions. :)
grail76
Oct. 1st, 2014 03:25 pm (UTC)
The flamingo shows a certain flair.
aimercat
Oct. 2nd, 2014 07:13 am (UTC)
$1 bin, target
itsjustc
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
Your garden looks lovely. It's quite similar to mine actually
aimercat
Oct. 2nd, 2014 07:14 am (UTC)
thanx. i owe it all to my bf
alycewilson
Oct. 1st, 2014 06:56 pm (UTC)
Hey, you're doing better than me! My garden completely went to seed after KFP was born.
aimercat
Oct. 2nd, 2014 07:15 am (UTC)
it's hard sometimes...like when my bf and I go on trips together or if we're having crazy busy weeks (i don't like to go behind our building after dark because i had a scary encounter with a opossum once....yes, in urban l.a. next to a freeway!)
muchtooarrogant
Oct. 2nd, 2014 01:36 am (UTC)
Caring for a garden in a major city sounds like such a challenge. I'm glad yours was a success, except for the cilantro of course. :)

Dan
kajel
Oct. 2nd, 2014 12:31 pm (UTC)
What a great solution to having a garden when you don't have the land!
ellison
Oct. 2nd, 2014 10:47 pm (UTC)
This is great! Makes me miss L.A., especially that palm tree hanging out in the background of your second to last photo. I love how you incorporated memories of your dad, plus the thoughtfulness of your boyfriend. And I understand it being hard to choose a color. That'd be me too! I love colors, there are too many to choose from!!! Love the lavender.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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