An English In Kentucky



















October 13th 2009

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    After five years of intrepid conceptualization during which imagination turned many wheel barrows of earth, an Asparagus bed has at last found a location in the real.  

    This is not the pirouette of a ballerina.  It is not the left-handed gesture of a jobbing gardener.  Rather it is a final confrontation with that ailment I will call 'perennial vegetable phobia'.

    In the world there are two kinds of gardeners.  Those who look at a plant and see it growing, and those who look at a plant and see the soil it is growing in.  Some gardeners aspire to belong to both categories, but their aspiration to do so will flounder on the rock of opposites and they will end up deluded or driven by duality to Jungian apartment dwelling.

    From across the valleys I hear the cry of "Nonsense!"  And so I will raise banners which read, "vegetables have soul, soil does not".  I will mutter, "soil is the universe, vegetables are no more than the stars in it." 

    Both of which statements make me a soil person, for whom a perennial vegetable means a corner of the universe devoted to a willfulness I'll not hesitate to call 'stasis and decline'.




    Pedants will point to the strawberries and grass paths and shrug away my thinking as belonging to the half-baked idea.   The garden, they will say, already possess perennials, so what difference do more actually make.

    This observation disregards the understanding I have with soil.  When I see a strawberry bed, I see July runners, before I see the strawberry plant.  The grass paths belong to she with whom I have paired, and they have something to do with wandering carefree and bare footed while wearing a sun hat and carrying secateurs. 

    So how can the universe 'be', I ask myself, if a part of it will for twelve years remain un-dug and un-indulged.  In my heart, I realize, the Asparagus bed has long been a black hole.  A place where Asparagus has ruled the universe around it.  And while in this place I have thought myself ruler.

    'Perennial vegetable phobia' may have a cure through a surrender of control.  For a soil person, however, it is one more reason to devote 'being' to edging.  Around the asparagus bed I am building a wall that a Chinese Emperor might envy.  And it is this wall that has allowed Asparagus, rather than a surrender to duality found in the word compromise.

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tim candler

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(Asparagus trade)   (Great Wall of China