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Tuesday September 27, 2005 // By Sarah

Garden Update #7: Goodbye, My Wild Tomatoes

Oh, how the garden made me fall in love with it and then cruelly broke my heart.

All summer, I tended to it, even when it was surly and unmanageable. We came to an understanding, me and the garden, an equilibrium of sorts.

And then, suddenly, our tenuous detente was shattered. First there was the construction: ladders in the garden, big pieces of siding lying on top of the weary tomato plants. Then, when I tried to clear out some of the dead branches and get the plants standing again, it got ugly. Branches that had been broken by the ladders came out, too. Branches that no longer had a support structure, since the stakes had gotten pulled out or pushed over, broke off as well.

Garden sadness

A half hour into this enterprise and half the garden was suddenly pretty barren. Sandy came out and helped me clean up, but it was an ugly sight.

The thing is, I left the little girl’s tomato plant alone, broken branches and all, since I didn’t want to do anything that might even remotely remind her of the lost sunflowers.

So now, her half of the garden looks like a lush (if ramshackle and dying) rainforest compared to the burnt out wasteland of our side. I know I did the right thing—I saved our herbs, I cleared out a lot of dead plants. But I still can’t help feeling that maybe I tried too hard to domesticate my wild tomatoes. Maybe, like animals in the zoo, their spirit just whithered and died.

Or, maybe next year I should just remember to cage the damn tomatoes before they go insane and take me with them.

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