always sounds like a fine addition to a vegetable garden. But there
is a reason why fresh Asparagus remains exotic. It belongs to
that part of life that is the tutu.
An Asparagus bed takes time to establish. When it
fruits it has a short season, and the bed in which Asparagus grows
requires considerable attention, otherwise those weeds that travel
conduct a campaign of Asparagus extermination. And here, were I live,
these weeds that so dislike the idea of Asparagus are already rampant in
their determination to rule.
In the face of
this peril I am preparing an Asparagus bed for planting early in Spring,
and I think back to those other places where this plant has perished and
I try to recall the actual cause of its demise.
I have in the past swished through gardens like a ballerina making
The more dire the prognosis, the more passionate the gesture, the more
confident the manner, the more capable I have appeared. And I always
laid the blame for failed Asparagus beds in one of three places.
Improper planting. Idle weeding. Insufficient water during
periods of drought.
These days, amongst elderliness, I
still discover those tendencies of the ballerina when in a garden that
belongs to another. But in our own garden, I find myself wearing
footwear that does not support a tutu. I am sometimes dour and depressing
in my conviction that men were not intended by God to plant perennial vegetables,
which is probably why this Asparagus bed has been nearly five years in the
Fortunately, rain today, monsoonal with
lightning and thunder at times, following a red sunrise, has further delayed
the Asparagus bed. Allowing yet one more opportunity to conceptualize
Asparagus. Wonder at the ornament of its fronds waving in what
imagination tells me is a warm, gentle breeze. Dally with a soil
structure out of which for many years polite weeds can be lightly tugged,
root and all. The sun elegant in the sky. Exactly an inch of
rain a week, arriving in four increments of one quarter of an inch of rain
each, occurring precisely at three forty five in the afternoon of the even
Briefly I will wear the tutu and I will
see Asparagus as it appears in the thesaurus of the word 'perfection', that
belongs to a jobbing gardener, or a mail order catalogue. And
briefly I will own confidence.