Gardens I Have Known

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Gardens I Have Known

A hillbilly wagon.
'Buddy,' said Aint Nan, 'get out your backhoe,
Come dig me a garden.'
'Yes'm,' he replied.
The garden had corn, and okry, and 'maters,
And bush beans and pole beans.
We ate a mess of them when we visited.
She said, 'You eat what you can, and what you can't,
You can.'
Lots of Mason jars in the cellar.
My country grandmother never
Went into her garden without a hoe.
Copperheads didn't stand a chance.
My city grandmother hung
Aluminium pie plates in the fig tree.
Stay away, birdies, we want
Those fig preserves.
The best 'mater plant grew
Right outside the back door
Where she dumped
The coffee grounds.
My dad discovered
To his disgust
That okry won't grow
In Pennsylvania.
The courgette must be a wonderful thing.
Zucchinis, however, are a plague.
One plant is too many.
My mother deep-fried it.
My grandmother called it 'a' Eyetalian cucumber'.
In Pennsylvania, 8 August is a holiday.
It's called Sneak-Zucchini-onto-Your-Neighbour's-Porch-Night.
Zucchini: the gift that keeps giving.
In the South, I discover,
Okry grow too fast.
One day, a nubbin.
Next day, suitable for whittling.
Parents on holiday, I find
The garbage disposal
Hides the evidence.

Oh, the stately gardens of Old England,
Where each owner names his estate.
In 'The Willows', no doubt,
Blossoms of elegant nomenclature dance in the dignified breezes.
Here, a naughty bunny peeks out from under the greens,
An illicit bite of 'mater in his mouth.
The birds complain about the tartness of damson plums,
And nobody ventures among the pole beans
Unless armed with a hoe.

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