How does our garden grow?

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.”




I froze. Holy crap. That isn’t a squash. That is a ring. A beautiful ring.

“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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  1. congrats/ mazel tov/ and bb bumps!!!

  2. My name is Daniel Haykin, I am marrying Talia and her massive internet presence. I won’t be able to hide from it entirely anymore and I don’t really want to anyways. Babe, my name is kosher for you to use now.

    Love, Sweet Husband

    • Sally Klein-Katz : October 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Dear Daniel,
      Welcome to the family! We love you already!
      Sally, Michael, Yavin and Matan

  3. Great story…thanks for sharing.

  4. So beautiful. So heartwarming. May the garden of your love nourish you both forever and ever and ever. This love story has filled my heart with so much happiness for you both.

  5. Mazal tov, guys!!! Great news! Great story!

    Love Dan’s comment too. 🙂

  6. so glad you have something to really get excited about instead of squash. Big upgrade from Bob the calabacita.
    Enjoy this “never to forget” exciting time and let the joy you feel now shower your lives forever.
    much love,

  7. ^ ^ ^
    And just like that, he makes his formal introduction to Talia’s internet fans.
    Mazal Tov to you both!

  8. I can’t resist a love story 🙂 and yours is simply wonderful!! Brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps. When you know you just know. Mazel Tov on such wonderful news and make sure you really take the time to enjoy this wonderful part of your life, it can be a whirlwind.

  9. Congrats and Mazel Tov! You story is incredible. I am an outsider who has been to the Minyan a few times but never had the pleasure of meeting you. But I am glad I got to read this. Its amazing to know there is someone else out there who believes in love at first sight. I too, fell in love with my husband in a matter of months (or minutes as everyone else put it) & have never been happier. After 4 months we moved in together and never looked back. May you both have an amazing and wonderful journey together. I am sure your love will continue to grow and you will have even better memories and a lifetime of prosperity. All the best.

  10. I cannot wait to see how your garden and lives continue to grow. All my love to you both, you know I think only the world of you as individuals and a pair.

  11. You might not remember us. We lived across the street from you in Illinois when you were growing up. Our daughter babysat you and your brother. We were “the Christians” who loved your parents and were good friends. We visited you many times when your family moved to Florida. We are so happy to hear of your news. Our many blessings and good wishes go forth. Loved your portral of your growing love and garden.You are a talented and beautiful human being.

  12. That just made me cry!!! What a beautiful love story. May you grow and tend many wonderful gardens in your life together. Blessings, my sweet friend.

  13. Ruby Gottlieb : October 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Talia:
    I’m an old friend of your mom’s (old in age and old in longevity I guess), and was probably her best friend when she met your father. You look very much like her. We met when you were little and living in Florida and I came to visit with my two sons (now 23 and 26). I was thrilled to hear the news of your engagement and fascinated by what you’ve accomplished in life so far. I’m in digital communications too and your online presence is amazing. And my younger son is also in PR/social media, just getting started in his career.
    I wish you and Daniel a lifetime of happiness….(he is very cute by the way)…and I look forward to hearing more about your wedding plans and the wonderful future you have ahead of you both.
    Ruby Gottlieb

  14. Justine's mama : October 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Mazal Tov! What a rich and delicious story you have! I am so happy for you. May you and Daniel continue to grow in your love and life.
    Veree Woodbridge

  15. […] read about our engagement here – How Does Our Garden Grow? Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. | Tagged […]

  16. hi, you don’t know me, but i came upon you as one does on the internet. impressed by you, and loved this story. wrote because my partner and i are dan and natalia. we also met and fell in love immediately. we moved in within 5 months, got a dog, made a baby by the first year and a half.. when you know you know 🙂 and i just thought that was a funny coincidence. all the very best in your life together.

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