A Day in the Sun
By Beverly Hicks Burch
My granddaddy McGee could make a stick grow. To say he had a green thumb was an understatement. It seems he got his green thumb from his Momma, Rebecca Shaffer McGee of Lawrence County, Tennessee. Now, where her green thumb came from I’d be hard press to say. I do know my little Momma seems to have inherited a love for green growing things and it should be of no surprise it filtered down to me. I do believe some things are more than “environmental” when it comes to our make-up and what goes into making us who we are.
My granddaddy was known for the flowers he grew around his house and for his unbelievable and bountiful tomato crops. His house sat close to the street and even though he had a very large yard and it was fenced in, he grew his tomatoes in the long narrow, raised concrete planters that were in front of the house. He used the fence to stake the plants up and then he went about tending them for the season.
PaGee as I called him had had health issues for years. He was a pastor and one year he had a heart attack while in the pulpit. He also had problems on occasion with what the old timers called “the sugar” or what we know as diabetes. He was also affected by the summer heat we get here in the South…something my aunt and I deal with to this day…the heat just makes us deathly sick…always has…
Anyway, these planters in front of the house were the perfect set-up for PaGee and his gardening. He would get up early in the morning before the day got so blasted hot and step out his front door and “bam” he was right there at his garden. He could water, tend feed and harvest…it was a set-up made in heaven…
One year his tomatoes were so outstanding and he had such a bumper crop, the local paper came out and featured him and his prize tomatoes in living color on the front page of the newspaper. Pretty exciting stuff for a kid…of any age…
Years later as I started my own life I eventually found my way to the land of green and growing things. I even attended the local community college and was pursuing the study of horticulture when Short & Stubby AKA Gomez had an auto accident and broke his neck. I dropped out of school to nurse him back to health, started work, then a family…and just never finished that degree in horticulture.
But, I never stopped loving things in the garden. Now, don’t get me wrong…I hate yard work…but, I love gardening. For years I lived next door to Herman and Lola Lovelady who were like surrogate grandparents. Every year they had a full fledge garden in their back yard and they encouraged and taught me a thing or two along the way.
One thing Tall & Handsome and I do is use a lot of fresh herbs in our cooking. I use to have an herb garden…not much of which survived “Big Jim” (along with my poor Japanese maple). T & H has been chomping at the bit to try his hand at raising some edibles so over the last couple of weekends or so we had accumulated a sizable little cache of herbs and such. Yesterday I spent the better part of the day repotting said cache until I ran out of pots and almost out of soil…some of them really need to go into the ground.
One surprising addition I’m growing is cilantro. I use to abhor the stuff, but over time I am beginning to appreciate the subtle use of it. It can be over used in my opinion, but I’m rocking it right now is some Thai recipes and some Southwestern recipes.
Weather predictions are for storms tomorrow…our first outbreak of severe weather for the spring, so since it was nice this morning, I was out on the deck checking my handiwork from yesterday. I hope it survives tomorrow and yet another move…I’m tasting fresh, juicy home-grown tomatoes and peppers even as we speak….yummmm!
Jet Tomato, Pepper & Husky Red Tomato
Jet Tomato already blooming…
Husky Red – little “grape” tomatoes
Sedum, Bee Balm and Greek Oregano
Sedum, Basil & Rosemary
Flat Leaf Parsley, Mint & Chives
Lemon Balm (Mint)
Jalapeño & Cilantro
Cilantro – it’s beginning to grow on me…
Tomatoes, Peppers, Pachysandra & Coreopsis
Coreopsis – can’t eat it, but it’s still a favorite
Mom’s Sedum – it’s a little different from mine and the bloom is different
I think this is Shamrock…
Lovelady Iris – in honor my my sweet little Loveladys
© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Right Reserved.