Climate makes plant parenting tougher

By Ryn Gargulinski

Having your garden thrashed by a summer storm is not a pleasant thing. It actually hurts to awake and find a group of ripped roots, a fleet of mashed beets and torn rows of corn.
It’s not like losing a kid — unless, of course, your kid is green and stringy and tends to grow on vines (which happened to a distant cousin who grew up chewing on carpet).
Nor is it like suffering the death of a cat, the loss of a lizard or getting your baby tooth knocked out by a booster chair. The tooth at least grows back.
A garden that’s been shredded by a storm has nary a chance of recovery.
I must admit I was forewarned New Mexico has some of the most magnificent — and brutal — displays of weather this side of Texas. They include tornadoes, fierce whirlwinds and lightening brighter than the neon on Broadway.
I heard they can rip your eyes out or at least blow away your hat.
But I didn’t honestly think Mother Nature would so cruelly demolish our garden.
I could see if the lawnmower once again accidentally spurted from my hands like when it plowed toward the concrete walk. Or if the neighbor who ogled the spinach came to snatch a handful armed with machete. Those would be valid reasons for the garden to be destroyed.
But I didn’t think Mother Nature would turn on herself.
If you sit down to ponder the conflict concepts — in other words, if you have no life — you find the scenario of a storm shredding up a garden neatly fits into the “man versus self” category.
With a natural-type disaster that rips up the very natural seedlings that nature nourishes, this is definitely a case of the creator destroying the created.
It is a form of suicide.
In a cartoon I remember well (perhaps because I drew it) a cute li’l rodent holds up a sign that says “When I grows up I wanna be a cat toy.” The caption reads “masochistic mouse.”
This storm that ruined our garden is something like that.
What upset me most about the whole incident — besides not having spinach for my afternoon salad — was that depressed look on my boyfriend’s face. He donned that mopey look guys get when they have to stop and ask for directions or lose a hand of poker.
After all, he had tilled, seeded, weeded and watered the garden since it was ankle high on a grasshopper. He smoothed and soothed the radishes. He even named the tomato plants — Weesie, short for Louise.
On that fateful morn he said he felt like his heart was ripped out like the roots of the sunflower, his hopes for harvest beaten down like the blooms on the cantaloupe, his soul bent like the stooping stalks. He then mumbled something about Malaki and “Children of the Corn.”
I suppose I should feel worse myself, but I am sort of used to death when it comes to green things. I have been known to kill dandelion — on accident.
It started back in high school when I was forced to do a science experiment using houseplants. I was to test the effects of music on the little green beasts. Thus I set up a plant tray with Beethoven and another with rock and roll.
Since I had to keep the plants separate, I put the former over by the window sill and stuck the latter in the closet.
My results were dramatic and keen: Things die when they listen to Ozzie Osbourne.
Perhaps we should pipe in some Beethoven to revive our garden.

Ryn Gargulinski is managing editor for the Quay County Sun. Contact her at: