I took Eric to the garden last night. He hasn’t seen it since June. This isn’t as odd as it sounds, as the garden is behind the garage and he hasn’t had to mow the grass for a month. But I had mentioned that one of the sunflowers was as tall as the garage, and he had to see for himself.

“Wow,” he said as we crossed the still-wet grass and stepped over the sad rabbit fence. “Tall as the garage. Those stems are two inches thick.” He looked around. “It’s definitely grown.” He looked at the sunflowers again. “What is all this?”

He was looking at the beautiful maroon plants in front of the sunflowers. “That’s amaranth,” I said. “For dyeing. And eating.”

“And those?” he said, pointing to the mess of cucurbit leaves in the northern end of the raised bed. “How do you even find anything under there?”

“The striped one is butternut squash, the rest are cantaloupe.” I rooted through the leaves and showed him the biggest cantaloupe, recently placed on a piece of cardboard.

“Hey, yeah!” he said. “It looks almost ripe! Is it?”

“Not quite. And these are all cucumbers. Next year I’m only planting one,” I added.

“These?” he said, moving past the cucurbit farm.

“Nasturtiums. Their leaves taste like radishes and they’re supposed to repel pests.”

“Oh, like marigolds. What’s that?” he said, pointing across the way.

“Potatoes.”

“Oh, of course.”

“And there’s tomato row. The bamboo stakes obviously didn’t work. I’ll get better ones next year.”

“Sure.” He looked at the raised bed. “Parsley?”

“No, carrots. The parsley is here. And there’s the dill and the baby strawberries.”

“You know,” he said, as we walked back to the house. “It’s not a garden so much as a forest. –But a tasty one.”

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