..........a blog about food, travel, gardening, and living the good life in Arizona.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

G is for gardening

May Sarton said it best in this lovely quote: Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.

I try to approach gardening with that same mindfulness and gratitude -- whispering thankful prayers for everything that is thriving. The difficulty lies in trying to maintain that righteous presence in the face of damaging insects, intense heat, dry winds, and hungry animals. All those good intentions and hopeful expectations are often dashed ever so quickly by any number of these setbacks. Still as a long-time gardener, I never give up. Every year brings that familiar stirring within to dig in the dirt, plant some seeds, and see what happens, odds be damned. Over the years, I’ve gardened in every home I’ve lived from my condo deck in Silicon Valley to a 5-acre country property in Nebraska.

The next 2 photos are of my gardens in Nebraska.

These next 2 are of my Tucson garden in 2005 (fully enclosed screened garden) and 2015 (entirely open raised bed) respectively.

Any discussion about gardening would not be complete without mentioning my Dad’s garden. My parents lived in Pennsylvania in the same house where I grew up. Our yard was big enough for a large garden but my Dad planted an even larger one on some land that a friend bequeathed to him. Not far from our house, it had no fence around it and no water source; it was just an empty lot of weeds and meadow grass. I don’t know how he watered it as I had moved to the west coast by then, but he managed to grow a variety of vegetables in spite of these handicaps. 

Rabbits loved his garden too but he didn’t mind. When they ravaged his lettuce, he would respond with, “Everything has to eat.” Here is a photo of my Dad in his garden. He has a certain je ne sais quoi, no? Grace for sure.


  1. Diane, your garden in Nebraska almost made me cry it is so beautiful! However, I am very impressed also by your Tucson garden -- hey, considering what we have to deal with here, you are a wild success!!

    1. Ha! thanks Kathleen... I do miss my Nebraska garden when I see these photos. Almost everything grows effortlessly there!