Friday, July 22, 2011

Yours is bigger but mine is better

This is so cliché it’s almost embarrassing to write, but it’s true: there’s a weird culture of garden wars that goes on in the suburbs.

This didn’t become totally evident to me until the other day, when one of Caroline’s friends was being dropped off for a playdate. I walked out to the car, intending to talk to the mother about what time she wanted the little girl home. As I reached the car, the door opened, and the mom barreled past me. Destination? My garden. (Remember my redneck garden? If not, click here and you can see that we’re not talking about mega acreage. You can click here to see what Whit thought of it.)

She walked around my dinky driveway garden and muttered to herself...”Well, my tomatoes don’t look good compared to these. But my cucumbers? They’re growing up the side of my garage. Maybe these don’t get enough shade. I like these little flowers; wonder what they’re called...”

Seriously, it was weird. But I totally get it. I was inspecting my neighbor’s garden last week and got an alarming case of herb envy because her basil is about thirty feet taller than mine is. Last summer, this same neighbor and I were very suspicious of Miracle Gro use because another neighbor had an absolutely incredible crop of everything she planted...we were not possibly going to admit that she had a better location, or superior soil, or (gasp!) that she was a better gardener. It had to be chemicals. And then supermom with the massive yard and therefore the massive, picture-perfect garden? I secretly cheered on the squirrel running from it with a fat green tomato in his mouth.

As soon as one friend drops off a plate of tomatoes and mozzarella and basil, another whips up gazpacho to outdo her.

And it’s not even just my strange little street. A friend posted pictures of the tomatoes she grew on Facebook. A friend in another state emailed me before and after pictures of her garden.

So maybe we all have some issues best explored on a therapist’s couch. But who has time for that? Not me. I’ve got to go count my strawberries, to see if I have enough to make a pie. That I will share, in a gloating kind of way.

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