Cathy's Magic Garden

Seeds have been ordered. It's a fairly exhausting process as we cruise from catalog to catalog, looking for the best variety at the best price. Some comments heard around the catalog-filled table:

From practical son B.: "This would be so much easier if we didn't have to think about price." From visionary son K.: "Just order it; we're going to grow a lot!" From Farmer K.: "Well now, you don't want to overextend yourselves!". From impractical Farmerette Cathy: "Ooh, look how pretty these are; can we grow them??" ( Around the table, eyes roll.)

Yes, I fear my seed ordering choices run toward the colorful and the bizarre. I also think a variety with a really interesting name definitely bears consideration, but my suggestions are generally overruled in the name of efficiency and practicality. (Except, hey, we're organic growers - how practical is that?!) So I invite you into my magic garden; it's right over here - right through this gate.....(cue harp music)

"Wow! This place is amazing! Look at all the colors! What kind of pole beans are these? They look like worms!"

"Oh, those are Red Noodles - burgundy yard-long beans. They're really tasty. Aren't they cool?"

"Well, yeah, I guess. But what's in this whole field of beans? There must be an acre of them!"

"Oh those are Christmas Lima Beans. I'm growing them for my pal, Kim. Aren't they pretty - all stripey green and red? We can't grow them for the stall, so I planted a bunch in my magic garden!"

"Okay, what about over here - these eggplant look so small!"

Yep, they're baby eggplant. These purple ones are called Hansel and the white ones are Gretel. And the purple and white striped? How could I resist - they're called Fairy Tale! I had to grow them all - don't they look cute together?"

I guess, but here's a big eggplant."

"That's Rosa Bianca - I just like to say the name. Say it! Ro-sa Bee-ahn-ka. Isn't that fun? It actually is one of the most beautiful eggplants ever, with its pinky purple fruit all striped with white and violet. Tastes yummy too. Unfortunately, it doesn't ripen well in our climate, but in my magic garden it does just fine!"

"Wow, where's all that music coming from??"

"Oh that's my Carrots Rock section. These really dark purple ones are called Purple Rain. And the purple ones with orange centers are Purple Haze. The white ones? They're called White Satin. Don't they sound good together?" (Points to any reader who identifies the artists associated with each of these varieties!)

"And there's more music over here!"

"Yeah, I call that area Hernando's Hideaway; they just sort of found each other. It's Tango lettuce, Bolero carrots, Carmen peppers and Conquistador celery. They dance to the music for a while and then there's salad!"

"Aww, come on - you're kidding. OW!!!"

"Oh sorry, we must be near the Naughty but Nice section. Somebody probably threw a Winged Gourd. I love those gourds, but they're hard to control. Let's come over here and see what mischief they're all up to."

"Brussels sprouts? What trouble could Brussels Sprouts possibly make?"

"Well, you see, they're Diablo brussels sprouts, and they do keep hanging out with the Merlin beets and the Envy green soybeans. They can all definitely cook up some tasty trouble! The Tongue of Fire shell beans usually show up when things start simmering. Add a little Eros endive and when the Sugar Buns corn waltzes in, I just have to turn my head."

Oh, okay. Oops! Oh, sorry, I guess I tripped."

"Oh yes, it's hard to see the squash down there. I couldn't resist that one. When a vegetable has a "mottled appearance resembling a frog's skin" and then gets named 'Bliss", well, I have to support such fearless labeling."

"Is this another squash?"

No, we're in the melon section. This is a butterscotch melon; what do you think about a cantaloupe with a "flavor suggestive of butterscotch"? I know it looks funny, but a butterscotch flavored melon?! How sweet is that!? And this is Sorbet Swirl watermelon - look at all those swirls of orange and red sweetness inside; here have a slice!"

"Yummmm - this is magic! Anything else?"

"Well, right through this gate...come on!"

"Wow! Flowers! And flowers and flowers! Every color and size - I can't see the end of them! Do you really grow this many flowers?"

"Oh sure, in my magic garden I do! Come on over to the Hot Biscuits Amaranthus!!".....(cue harp music).

"CATHY! Wake up! We need to finish this order? Is there anything we missed?"

"Oh! Oh yeah, let me see...oh, here's something! How about Happy Rich mini broccoli? Look how cute it is! And with a name like Happy Rich, it has to be a winner, don't you think?"

Around the table, eyes roll.

(Many thanks to Johnny's Selected Seeds, an employee-owned seed company with the gumption to carry these creative varieties alongside the bread-and-butter veggie seeds that pay the bills. Check them out at

And thanks for visiting my magic garden - come back any time!


  1. You need to know that I just read out loud whole sections of that to Richard, and I laughed my head off. You had WAY too much fun doing that. I loved it! Tell those boys to let you grow some fun stuff. They're too young to be so curmudgeonly. (I'm not sure that's spelled right, which may lessen the effect. Rats.) Oh, that was so much fun and absolutely inspired. Garden at my house!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My road to Frog Holler, by Paul Burger

Humble beginnings

May 7, 2012