I guess I’m not the only one in town who has, um, received the graciousness of squash volunteers this year.  I seem to remember squirrels eating my delicata last year, but what in the heck is this one, growing in my strawberry bed?  I thought it might be a luffa, from a start that failed last year, but that logic doesn’t work.

There’s a winter squash of some sort growing amongst my beans (you can see one to the back left of the photo).  The tomato is also a volunteer, a Sweet 100 cherry tomato, it turns out.  And the fennel closest to the camera is also one — it’s a different variety than the fennel vulgare by the hedge.

And there’s this cheery volunteer on the other side of my beans.  I’ll do another post about these remarkable pole beans, rames de vigneronne from Switzerland.  They’re dappled purple with green.

Glory be to God for dappled things–
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced–fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

– “Pied Beauty,” Gerard Manley Hopkins

This poem evokes some personal losses for me, a small pied cat — counter, original, spare, strange — about nine months ago (and empathy for the friend who just lost a similarly dappled tabby and reminded me of the existence of this lovely poem).  I miss her in my garden every morning.  Toward the end of her life she was blind, and still nonchalantly made her way out to the back rows to check if the hoses had been turned on.

It reminds me we don’t always need eyes to see, just like we don’t always need to plant to be fruitful.

One thought on “volunteerism

  1. Diane Sciacca 14 August 2011 / 11:46 pm

    My volunteer strawberry (nestled happily betwixt the sage and the summer squash) is doing nicely. The runners shoot out to six feet wingspan and the mothership has flowers on it.
    The dent corn is getting tall and tasseled. The tallest is over my head and the two lesser ones are about as tall as myself (which is to say, ranging 5’7″ to 6’2″). They all have three ears each starting to climb their way out of the stalk. I’ll eat one ear, to see how it tastes; if it’s good, the rest will be dried for seed and I’ll grow a bunch more next year.
    The squash are going crazy again this year. They each have at least a dozen blossoms on them and about five are filling out into squash. They’re planted next to sugar pumpkins and I’m expecting gourds out of the mix. That’s fine :) Gourds, pumpkins, squash, it’s all good.


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