Our Community Garden

One beautiful spring afternoon, I sat on the steps of my house enjoying the sound of the birds singing, when I heard my next-door neighbor’s back door snap open and slam closed.

Dave dashed outside wearing his orange racecar tee shirt.  Dave used to own a racecar of his very own.  But he had to sell his speedway car because his hobby became too expensive.  I knew he missed tinkering with sockets, tires and loud engines.

He came across the stone path he had built from leftover pieces of slate.  The slate used to be the floor of my old shed.  The grey and blue stone path connects our houses.  Walking across the path, Dave swept the wisteria vine from his face.  Finally, he sat beside me on the stoop.

“I bought a rototill!” He announced with a wide smile.

“What’s a rototill?” I asked.

“A rototill churns soil for planting.  I rototilled a portion of my yard and Al’s yard too,”  Dave said.  He seemed happy to use his new mechanical toy anywhere and whenever possible.

Dave had a starry look in his eyes as he began to speak.  “I remember my mother-in-law’s special Italian tomatoes.  She used to grow them in her garden.  Let me tell you, they were the best I ever tasted.  They were fancy, Italian tomatoes.  I saved the seeds.”  Dave rubbed his stomach and smacked his lips together. “I’m waiting for the chance to plant them and taste their magnificence again.”

“Are you going to plant those fancy tomatoes in your newly tilled garden?” I asked beginning to feel hungry as he spoke of delicious food.

“No, I can’t because of the tree in my backyard. I tilled a tiny spot to plant flowers in the front yard.” He replied with a hint of sadness.

I am fond of my neighbor, Dave, and his shade tree.  His backyard tree is over eighty years old!  Each morning when I open my door, I have a perfect view of the old tree.  The tree always had a bird pecking at its bark, or a bird’s nest high in the branches.

Dave sighed heavily as he continued to talk.  “The tree steals sunlight.  Tomatoes won’t grow in the shade.”

When he finished talking, I looked over at the ancient tree. Squirrels were playing tag around its trunk.

“So do you want me to rototill someplace in your yard?”  Dave asked with excitement.

I listened to the squirrels cluck and squeal as they played on the old tree.  I glanced at my scarred legs. Gardeners need to bend to plant and kneel to weed.  I could build a garden in my dream world, but not in this world. Unless–

“I can’t garden but you can use my backyard to plant your tomatoes, herbs and vegetables.  My yard gets a good amount of light. And you can use my water and hose too.”  I volunteered.

“Really?” Dave’s eyes lit up like morning sunshine.

“Yes, of course. We can build a garden together.”  I returned a smile.

Dave rototilled my backyard and planted a garden.  His fairy tale tomato seeds grew.  So did the basil and parsley.

Dave planted marigold flowers to keep the rabbits and groundhogs from eating all of the garden plants. We decided to let them nibble on a few plants, just not eat all of them.

We also decided to share the bounty of the garden with the whole neighborhood.

Now Dave has a new hobby and I still see the old shade tree every day.

This is a picture of the slate path connecting our houses.

This is a picture of the garden during the first year, 2000.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Pat said,

    Love, love, love it! Are the bottom two photos of this years’ garden? What is the yellow flowering plant? Zucchini, pumpkin, squash? It’s some sort of veggie, right?

    • 2

      victoria kaloss said,

      That’s this year’s zucchini! One zucchini plant spreads out about 3-4 feet. Looks like a good year for the garden to grow.

      I have the pictures titled but you have to hold the cursor on the photo to retrieve the title. I’m going to figure out how to add text at the end of my photos so everyone can see the titles easier.

      Hey, I’ll have to make the new recipe with zucchini that I’ll be scanning and emailing to you. As always, thanks for popping in and thanks for the gift of the camera 🙂


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