© Jennifer Giandalone, June 11, 2003


            The garden has been a source of great joy, physical movement and exercise, panic, awe, melting beauty.  I caught myself muttering aloud, “The Verdant Garden.”

            Then it sounded pretentious so I abandoned the idea.

            Peanut Brittle sauntered by with a snake yesterday while I was watching a couple of guys dig for our septic system top.  John said he saw her kill it.  With one swift, sharp shake of her head, the young reptile became green-striped spaghetti.  Or so I thought until I picked it up, thinking it might still be alive, because it didn’t look limp to me.  It wasn’t.

            I placed it on the plow, and it held its shape.  Dead snakes turn stiff quickly I theorize due to their cold-blooded status.

            I was upset that she killed something.

            I don’t think it could be her, but we’ve had two dead gray squirrels turn up in the door yard as well. 

            So when I heard of a friend’s battle with an unknown garden varmint, I immediately thought,

            “Rent a small herd of miniature dachshunds for a week, that should do it.”

            Actually, I’d try dried blood first.  You can find it at the garden center in with the fertilizers.  It’s very effective in repelling rabbits, if that’s your culprit.  It’s a good source also of nitrogen. 

            “Sharp sand,” I’ve read, is effective in repelling—or this perhaps might even kill—slugs.   I haven’t used it.

            Little in nature surprises me much anymore except things like finding a jack-in-the-pulpit blooming right smack in the middle of a gorgeous swathe of blue rug juniper.  Here is an argument for bird shit!  That’s got to be how it landed up growing there, wouldn’t you think?

            In the distance, non-stop, I hear the staccato needle-piercing shriek of Peanut Brittle’s “alert” bark.

            Doesn’t that dog ever tire?

            It’s time to go fetch the bratwurst and return the neighborhood to some measure of peace.  Will stroll along the verdant garden on route to doing so, drinking in-- all the while-- orange Oriental poppies, quite flopped over from incessant rain-forest-like conditions.  Everything’s lush but quite fragile.

            Including me.

            Got the crap scared out of me on Friday when the sun emerged after three or four days.  I dashed out to survey the garden and was met by voluminous balloon-bouquet clusters of various colors and shapes of mushrooms.  It was an enchanted child’s enchanted garden, and I’m mad at myself for not having sat down right then and drawn it, or written about it.

              Perhaps that can come from memory.

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