I've been anxiously checking our mailbox the last few days, in wait of a very important package...from my pen pal.
Every month, for the second gardening season in a row, my mom takes pictures of what was once considered just the yard where I learned how to pitch a softball, but is now, without a doubt, a garden. Some would be more inclined to call it an orchard. I prefer to call it "The Beach Orchard."
In May of 2012, I convinced my parents to let me plant two fig trees in their yard: a Negronne fig, and a Brown Turkey fig. Aside from a few seemingly dead tulips bulbs that I sneakily planted, that was all I was allowed to play in the dirt for the 2012 gardening season.
In 2013, after an unplanned six week stay at my parent's, the garden variety of what was now half-jokingly being called the garden had grown to include three more fig trees (two of which I had propagated, and one purchased, a Peter's Honey Fig), about 75 gladiolus bulbs, Dahlias, an Improved Meyer Lemon Tree (potted), a Mandarin tree (potted), an Elberta Peach Tree, A Bing Cherry tree, a few hydrangea bushes, some mint, and a slew of geraniums. In my time there I also sprouted two apricot saplings from seed, an avocado pip, and about 7 grapefruit saplings from seed.
So yeah, my pregnant little self got to dig in the dirt a lot...with gloves on of course.
It was so much fun having all that time to garden with my mom, especially since I was still at the "if I walk a block by myself I might faint or vomit or both" stage of my pregnancy. With gardening I could sit down in a chair, have a nice cup of coffee or tea, take a break inside and come back out later...it was fantastic.
The thing that sucked though? Having to leave all that hard work behind and not being to care for it...or see it blossom...literally. I would Skype with my parents once we returned to SwitzerFrance, and they would "take me out into the garden" to visit with all my plant babies, but it wasn't enough. So my mom decided that she would be my gardening pen pal.
Every month, she goes out with her trusty disposable camera (yeah, they still make those), and takes pictures of my plant babies and sends them to me. I anxiously await that envelope every month, as I love to see how tall and lush everything is growing in the sandy South Jersey Beach soil.
And I think I've created a gardening monster, as each time it seems there are a just a few more fig trees than there were the last time. It's a beautiful thing.
And even though it makes me more than a bit homesick every time I peruse and obsess over the current month's pictures, I love seeing how our garden is growing. It always gets me really excited for our next trip back, whenever that will be, and the at least 5 trips that will take place to the garden center. I'm so proud of my mom for doing such an amazing job of taking care of all of the trees and flowers that have turned their yard into a garden, and I can't wait until the next time that I can go play in the dirt back at the beach.
But I think the bigger question is, how long will it be before she'll let me start The Beach Orchard Vineyard?
A la prochaine friends...