Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

Because mine isn’t doing so well.


I have a a withered, dying, tragic thumb, if my plants are to be taken as any indication. Between my mediocre plant-sense and a heat wave that’s hit the DC area recently, I’ve been fighting to keep my tiny vegetable and herb garden alive and well. Mint was an early casualty. I lost my cilantro to flowering a few weeks ago (that means it was done producing for its life because I didn’t see and remove the flower buds soon enough) and my rosemary and thyme to terrible heat, even in mostly shade. My heirloom tomato plant, I think, was never fertilized by cute little bumble bees, and never produced fruit before it withered up. I lost my poblano pepper plant to the heat, too. The only survivors seem to be basil (but it’s not happy), orange sweet peppers, and bell peppers.


I don’t have a back yard with a proper garden bed, just a small back patio with mostly sunny spots and a few large platers borrowed from a friend. Growing conditions like this, I know, are less than ideal anyway, but I hadn’t expected such garden carnage from the summer heat. I really don’t have much plant-sense, as I said. Gardening never really was my thing.

It was my mother’s thing, really. My childhood home had about a half-acre of land, all told, meaning there was plenty of grass and plenty of garden beds to till and weed and work. And as the only child, guess who often got stuck with the “weeding” part.

You got it.

I hated it. Hated weeding, hated squatting, hated sweating, hated dirt, hated bugs, hated it. It’s left a bad taste in my mouth regarding plants and planting for most of the rest of my life. That is, until a few years ago, when I bought my first little basil plant from the grocery store. There was something magical about growing and picking my own fresh herbs that called out to the foodie in me.

So I’m giving gardening another chance. Assuming that anything survives the summer.


Grow, little guy! Grow!


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