How does our garden grow?
In March, a friend asked me if I would be interested in meeting a guy friend of hers. “He’s a really nice guy and very cute,” she told me. “Sure,” I said, “send me a picture?” She did and man, was this guy cute.
We spoke for the first time in the beginning of April (2012). Halfway through our first date, I texted my roommate, “This is the man I am going to marry.”
Our dating experience could have been typical… dinners out, movies, etc. But our romance was far from that. About our second or third date, I told him about the garden I was setting up. You see, that winter I had put my name on a list to get a community garden plot at Ekar Farm here in Denver. Ekar is a part of the Denver Urban Gardens movement but it is more than a community garden. There is also a farm that produced almost 6,500 pounds of organic produce and donated it to Jewish Family Service’s Weinberg Food Pantry. They have honey bees and apple trees and it is quite a beautiful place… but it wasn’t that beautiful on April 1st when I saw my overgrown plot for the first time. I started to think I was a little out of my league.
But then I met this guy… or as he is referred to on this blog, Sweet Boyfriend. You see, I invited him to join me at the garden one Sunday (after our third date) to help me clear out the plot and turn over the soil.
We went to the garden with another friend of mine and pulled weeds. We cleared the old radishes out of the plot and he hand tilled the soil. Then we put bat poop and earthworm ‘castings’ (it’s a fancy word for poop) on the soil. We tilled that and watered and watered and watered.
He showed me how to set up the garden and we put some seeds in the ground. A few of my favorite veggies… carrots, beans, beets… he smiled nicely and let me do it… even though it wasn’t the right season.
But as our garden began to grow, and it did begin to grow… because he put MORE seeds in and starter plants, so did our relationship. On Sundays we would go to the garden and water and pick. Most days of the week he would water… unless I managed to get out of the door on time or he was out of town. I was so proud of this little plot of land! I didn’t want to ‘break’ it.
We read about gardens, he was growing tomatoes out of pots on his back porch. AND he had a garden at his parents house… he was now master gardener of THREE gardens!
And then something magical happened. Just as we saw the seeds begin to sprout, he took me to a very cute bar and told me he loved me and had known he loved me for a while. I couldn’t help but tell him that I had loved him for a while as well.
Our love had sprouted.
We both traveled in and out of town. We started spending every second of every day that we had available together. Phone calls to parents were missed… friends forgot what we looked like. We were absorbing each other. And so were our plants.
Our empty plot began to have tiny plants. My impatience led to many conversations with these little guys, begging them to grow big and give me delicious food… little did I know…
Our little plants needed support and care. Sweet Boyfriend bought poles and netting… stepping stones and organic plant food. Every time I visited the garden, there were new surprises.
Every time I looked at Sweet Boyfriend, the depth of love I felt for him surprised me. How could I love him so very much in just two months, three months?! While he and I both remained somewhat skeptical and trying to think critically… though he more than I (which you know if you know us). But there was a tug there that was undeniable. To think of life without him… I draw a blank.
And then, we produced our first vegetable. His name was Bob and he was a Calabacita. It means squash in Spanish but it is an actual kind squash. I WAS SO PROUD! In fact, I took the opportunity to freak out my parents by sending them an email with the subject line: “Sweet Boyfriend and I are proud to announce…”
Yes, they were mad at me when they opened the email and it said – “Our first squash named Bob!” 🙂 Bob was incredibly delicious. We went on to eat many Bobs… son of Bob, tiny Bob, giant Bob… Bob is good.
Yes, that is Bob in the picture. We had no idea what he was at first but to taste the fruits of our labor? To eat something that we had grown together? Incredible. We ate him on Fourth of July… which was the same day that we as a couple, for the first time, hosted people at Sweet Boyfriend’s house for a BBQ.
We continued to show the world that our relationship was bearing fruit (or vegetables… or Bobs as the case may be).
And yes, our relationship continued to evolve and grow. We met each others families and best friends. We even flew to Ann Arbor, Michigan so I could meet Sweet Boyfriend’s very best friend from college. We created Jewish traditions for Shabbat and Havdallah. We got tickets to our first High Holy Days together.
And then yesterday, Thursday September, 27th, 2012… as our garden was in full bloom, Sweet Boyfriend… my best friend… asked me to marry him in our garden. The garden that we nurtured and helped grow. The garden that has now produced nearly 250 pounds of produce. And, as I promised so many friends… here is how he did it:
We are currently sharing a car as his blew up prior to a camping trip. He needed it yesterday for work so he dropped me off at my job in the morning. He came to pick me up after work. We had talked about maybe working out that afternoon but first we HAD to stop by the garden. It had been a rainy and cool few days and with Yom Kippur, we hadn’t been to the garden in a couple of days. He lured me there with the notion that our watermelon… yes we grew a watermelon!!! might be ready.
That day I had forwarded him an email from the minyan (a lay led synagogue) that we had been attending, suggesting that we should join and do a couples membership. He told me “Whoa, lo0k you have to give me a night to think about this. Joining a synagogue as a couple is a big step. I mean, it says something, especially if we aren’t even engaged!”
I could kick myself! How could I do that?! Scaring off the Sweet Boyfriend is NOT a good idea!
So we proceeded to the garden. I flitted around… picking zucchinis and patty-pans while Sweet Boyfriend is off in a corner. La la la… no worries in the world.
Sweet Boyfriend says: “Babe! Come here! You have to see this!”
I come running. Is it a awesome squash? A yellow patty-pan? I come running. Just as I get to him, he turns around, looks me in the eyes and says: “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,” I said.
“Can I put this thing on your finger before I drop it in the dirt?” Sweet Boyfriend said.
Of course. And though, after a touch of canoodling in the garden, I was ready to get back to picking… he informed me that it was all just a ruse to get me there. And there is champagne on ice at home. And we are going out to dinner.
Whoa, can this man plan!
When it was all said and done, he has been planning this for a while. He spoke to my father at break the fast after Yom Kippur, the day before, to get permission. His folks have seen and approved of the ring (and me).
He became a diamond expert and purchased me a stone cut in a vintage style… to match my vintage style… and he proposed to me in the garden we grew together.
So I must tell you this, I promised him I would not use his name online. He is a phantom like that… but he is no longer Sweet Boyfriend and Sweet Fiancee seems so temporary. Since, to us, this is as good as permanent… May I introduce you to Sweet Husband? Whoa, that was weird to write. 🙂
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