How Does Your Garden Grow?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Of all the pleasures I’ve had here on Seguin, keeping the garden has been one of the most deeply spiritual and rewarding.  Living in New York City, all I can do with northern exposure and a first floor apartment is to plant impatiens in window boxes and the tree pits in front of my building.  That’s been nice.  When I was a kid, I grew flowers from seeds in Rochester and marveled at the zinnias and hollyhocks rising up taller than I in the back yard and the red salvia that stood out in front of the green bushes in the front of the house.  My dad planted some vegetables but I think rabbits and deer ate them all.  It’s the story you hear most often and I’m not interested in the expensive elaborate devices people invest in to ward them off.  I keep thinking when I finally bite into my first tomato, if I had such a garden, I’d only wonder at the enormous cost of each bite.

But here on Seguin, we’re blessed with a round garden, lined with big rocks, and no predators of any kind.  I think the gulls have done away with all the rodents.; there’s not even a mouse in the house; and the rabbits have been hunted to extinction.  A raccoon was sighted about three years ago, but not since.  And the tradition of growing things here, even though the season is short, I’m sure goes way back.  We put seedlings in the ground the first week we arrived and wondered if they’d take off in this harsh environment.  The cucumber disappeared but everything else seemed to grow well.  A couple of weeks later we got some lettuce seeds and those germinated quickly.  By the time the zucchini began to take over we were eating lettuce and harvesting herbs to go with everything.  But when we saw the first zucchini, it was a joy I can hardly describe.  Not knowing when was the right time to pick it, we waited a day and saw it practically double in size.  Sitting down to dinner with this big guy on the menu was a meal I won’t forget.  And nothing has tasted fresher than the delicate lettuce greens picked minutes before being made into a salad and consumed.

One of the lobstermen who haul traps in the waters around Seguin meets me in the cove from time to time when I put in an order the day before.  I row out in the dingy and we make a little swap in the rendez-vous.  He gives me ten of the freshest biggest lobster I’ve ever eaten and I hand him a check made out to his son toward his college fund.  We and our guests have had such fun and great memories associated with these meals.

We are seeing the end in sight and it makes us sad no matter how hard we try not to think about it.  With the days getting shorter and the cool easterly dry air, you can almost feel summer’s tug into fall.  Yesterday, with the binoculars, I could see the house on Monhegan where we stayed maybe ten years ago, and that’s almost 20 miles away.  We’ll take one day at a time, cut a little more grass, and greet many more visitors, who always seem as enchanted by this island as we are.

Dee visits tomorrow and I’m trying a new recipe for blueberry scones.

Meanwhile, what to do with all the blackberries!

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3 Responses to How Does Your Garden Grow?

  1. Amy Skaggs says:

    What a wonderful story! I can picture the flowers and vegetables…Wish we could visit again! Matthew loves his Seguin Island book made by the Poiriers. He has memorized everything about the surrounding lighthouses, from years built to length of time the lights flash. He’s having a wonderful time in first grade.
    Amy Skaggs

    • That’s the nicest comment I could hoped to have seen on this blog Amy. Thank you. We often think about Matthew and knowing he’s in school and enjoying it (what, it’s only August 14!) is very happy news. Best wishes, Michael

  2. Mary Ann Weddle says:

    I really enjoy reading your blogs, Michael. We, too, are enjoying our garden. Every year we have so many summer squash and zucchini, except for this year. They flowered beautifully, but failed to yield a single squash or zucchini. Our cucumbers have been small and infrequent, too, but we’ve had oodles of tomatoes, green beans, scallions, carrots, snap peas, green peppers, radishes, and various herbs. Isn’t it wonderful to walk out in your backyard and pick your dinner? I love our garden!

    I know France and you will savor every remaining minute of your days on Seguin Island. You both have been wonderful caregivers of a beautiful place.

    Love and best wishes.

    Mary Ann Weddle
    I love our garden!

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