It is no secret that I love to garden. I do both vegetable and flower gardens. Ever since I was a small child I wanted to watch things grow. As a city girl this was a dream. But once I got married, I grew things.
It started out by planting in our small patio off our first apartment. I planted cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. But I knew little about gardening and less about the products I planted. My husband and I left for our honeymoon. When we left, the plants were small. We were gone perhaps two blissful weeks before reality dawned again and we had to return to the real world.Once home to our complex, we eyeballed the landlord. He seemed to be waiting for us while we were collecting our weeks of mail. This could not be good, I thought. He said he would meet us at our apartment.
By the time we got our mail, got back into the car and drove to our apartment, he was already there. We both got out of the car empty-handed because we did not know what to expect. What could have possibly happened? The landlord let us walk most of the way to him and then came to us. He said, “Wait there. I want to show you something.” He pulled out an umbrella. While he was fiddling with it he said, “By the way, your hanging plants won you fifty dollars. They are beautiful. I wish he had a gift for the most fruitful patio.”
I had no idea what he was speaking about. Then he pointed to the sidewalk. We all looked down. There growing down the sidewalk was vines of cucumbers and beans. Real cucumber! They were big, green and ready to be picked. Then there were beans- everywhere. I did not remember planting those.
We lived in an area with many apartments in small clusters. They were all neatly kept with their own fenced in patios. In just over two weeks that we were gone, it must have rained accompanied with plenty of sunshine. Our apartment at the end, near cow country, had food hanging everywhere. I was mortified. Still, I could not understand why he had the umbrella.
We apologized. But he smiled. I did not know the man had teeth. He said that he loved coming by every morning and seeing the change in the garden. “Wait until you see the zucchini plants!” He could not hold back the laugher. “When we show the apartments, we show yours.”
How wonderful! I was delighted- but studpefied at becoming an unintendent attraction. My husband just shook his head. I asked if he wanted to come in. He shook his head vehemently. “Oh no! Absolutely not. But I did bring you an umbrella! You will need it.”
Why I thought. He pointed to the apartment door. You have a new neighbor. She will be along to greet us as soon as we step closer to the door. We had no idea what he was speaking about. He handed us the umbrella and stepped back. He gestured to the door. We stepped cautiously toward the door. All of a sudden a robin came dive bombing at us with the intent of doing us serious damage. The landlord roared with delight. We ran back to him. He said,” You can keep the umbrella! The way I figure you have a few weeks before the little ones leave the nest.” He turned and walked away still laughing out loud.
For several weeks after that we used the umbrella to come and go from our apartment. Robin did her “dive bomber” thing a while. The landlord was a frequent visitor for vegetables. Then one day the babies were grown. We were free. The landlord still came by and laughed because the Zucchini plants had taken over the small patio. I never grew squash before; therefore, I had no idea how much space they required. With those huge plants, there was no room for anyone. It was all jungle in the patio with lots of nature’s creatures. The landlord commented that we were his favorite place to visit. “One with nature”, he said! It always cheered him up watching a city girl learn to be country and do it so well in such a small space too. Glad mt learning brought him joy. I learned a lot too, my first summer as a wife.