Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Garden of Eden

The first time I viewed the apartment that I live in, I didn't even look at the patio. I had lived in an apartment without an outdoor space for so long, I don't think it even registered that I could have a little outdoor eden of my very own.

Three or four months after I moved in, I threw caution to the wind one day at Target when I purchased a chaise lounge and a jasmine vine. A sickly Charlie Brown tomato plant followed, and soon I had a half dozen little pots filled with herbs and vegetables on my little patio. Saturday mornings involved getting up before the sun in order to draw the blinds so Goldie could lay in the sun. When it was warm enough, we'd both go out there and fight over who got the sunny spot on the chaise. The patio is surrounded by a five feet tall wall, so no one knew that I was out there in my pink fuzzy bathrobe and slippers. That's how I watered most of my plants: in my jammys. I could hear the activity of the pool on the other side of the wall, and glimpse bits of splashing water and tan skin, but the people at the pool couldn't see me. I often read books and napped on the patio on lazy afternoons. At some point, I added a water dish for Goldie. After she walked around the patio and sniffed each and every corner, she'd always have a little sip of water. There is no happier cat than one with spider webs caught on their whiskers and ears. She'd look up at me happily with a little droplet on her chin. Our collective joy of being out of doors in our own space could have no greater symbol than that.

This spring, my jasmine burst into bloom filling the patio and the surrounding pool area with its exotic scent for weeks. It was incredible -- truly like living in a Garden of Eden. I bought all new herbs -- bravely branching out into tarragon this year, and remaining on the fence about cilantro. I had a terrible experience last year. After battling bugs, I decided to grow my own basil from seed. And I'm pleased to say that very fragile teeny tiny little growths have appeared in all of my pots.

Last night, I harvested the first tomatoes of the season (see action photo of the actual harvest above) and put them into a dinner salad. It was a grand affair. Food and festivities had by all. Unfortunately, later that night, Goldie took a turn for the worse. She's currently staying at the vet for the next 24 hours. After that, a decision will have to made.

Goldie has been my best friend and roommate for more than fifteen years. I wish my only decison was about whether or not to plant cilantro.

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