"O how abundant is the harvest heaped
In those rich storage-bins of souls who were,
While down on earth, the sowers of good seed!"
- Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXIII, Verse 130
This is the season of the vivid, the lurid, the clashes between colors, and I don’t just mean the seemingly endless presidential campaign as covered by American media.
I mean in my garden, where things are out of control. Clashing colors careen madly together, plants have outgrown their pots and become promiscuously entwined with each other, and planting beds are overrun armies of volunteers. The garden exceeds the gardener’s most inspired visions this month. The garden has taken upon the autonomous power to redesign and propagate itself.
Prosaic gardens may be pretty. My garden is not your uninspired cottage garden, dainty in it’s gently nodding cheerleader pastels. My garden is neither prosaic nor pretty. My garden a dirty girl, grown plump and looking older than her years in the glare of the harsh summer sun. The plants have outgrown their beds, in places looking like a fat girl in a prom dress two sizes too small – sweaty folds of skin spilling voluptuously out of desperately stretched fabric.
Despite being slightly slutty, my garden is sublime in it’s profligate boisterous life, enchanting in it’s effect. The sunflowers are few but noisy. The lab-lab (purple hyacinth bean) clashing next to the garish orange and brown wildflowers (who knows their name, they’ve returned in different places in the yard for years).
My pending harvest will be small – tomatoes are shriveling in the dry heat and eggplants never even bothered to hold onto their flowers, let alone fruit. But so, what if I won’t reap an abundant harvest to fill rich storage bins? The best part about being a gardener in this season (before the heat parks just outside the window and stares me down inside) is having no regrets. Whatever didn’t grow, despite desperate coaxing or profane cursing is barely missed. What is growing is no longer my problem. I’m just sitting back, enjoying it all more than ever this year.
My garden of delights proves there are other, more hopeful, meanings to the caution that we reap what we sow.