Gardening and the senses

Why write a gardening blog when gardening is so much about all five senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste – think dark purple plums with the dichotomy of their tart skin and juicy, sweet flesh. We are just wrapping up plum season and getting impatient for peaches.

Google does this amazing thing where it sends a collage of selected images from this day several years ago. It recently sent me pictures taken in the garden six years ago. We had just moved in and hadn’t gotten to working on the outdoors yet. It was interesting to see how much the garden has changed, grown, or overgrown as my husband would insist, in just six years.

While the pictures help recollect what the garden looked like for a moment in time, the memories of what the garden felt like are forgotten. I can now only imagine what must have been my great delight when I saw and smelled for the first time the rose borders in their peak May bloom. Or discovered the perfection that are our mandarins once I had figured out the right time to pick them.

The mandarins on our tree start looking perfectly ripe long before they attain a corresponding perfection in taste. I couldn’t resist having a mandarin straight off the tree first thing in the morning as they glowed enticingly in the crisp spring sunshine. But what a shattering disappointment – they tasted terrible! My frantic search for the fertilizer, supplement, soil test or other magic elixir that would make my mandarins taste as good as they looked was a definite indicator of my growing obsession, but no one was paying attention.

I discovered that a chemical in toothpaste, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), makes orange juice taste bitter if you have it right after brushing your teeth, which is what I was doing with the mandarins. And that if you have enough fruit to spare, then tasting a mandarin every week to critically judge whether it’s time is good practice. And once the time has arrived, then oh joy! Baskets and baskets of fruit to be picked, and happily and proudly shared with neighbors and friends.

I often wonder how long we will live in this house. The owners before us stayed 7 years and we are approaching that mark. If we ever do move out, this blog and its sporadic entries will serve as a diary of my thoughts and experiences as I slowly built up the garden and made it what it is today.

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