June 25, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Garden

Covet: cov-et. /kuh-vet/ verb, meaning "yearn to possess or have (something)"

Synonyms: crave - desire - hanker - lust

When I think about coveting, it usually extends to things that are expensive...a certain kind of house you wish you had, a bigger television, diamond jewelry. 

Lately, I've been coveting something in the worst of ways. It's not necessarily an expensive thing, although it did cost lots of sweat and hard work to create. I've been coveting a garden. 

 Living in a condo like I do, I have a small concrete patio which I've crammed with potted plants in my efforts to have a so-called 'container garden.' For the past eight years, I've called my condo home and my container garden has brought me lots of joy. It still does.

But there's a garden down the road from my house that turns me pea-green with envy. I'm talking about the University of Tennessee Gardens, recently named as the official botanical garden of my state. It's practically within walking distance of where I live...less than a 5 minute drive. 

In the past three days, I've been there three times...to enjoy the paths and picnic tables...sculpture installations and even a rock labyrinth. Some of it is a work in progress, but aren't we all?

I've been dragging my southern beau there too, but he doesn't seem to mind. Saturday, we took a stroll in the evening. Sunday, we had a lovely picnic on a grassy spot in the middle of a big grove of trees. Monday, it was fish watching in the newly added ponds. 

The entire garden is lovely, but the part I really covet...the part I really hanker for is the kitchen garden. 

It's this wonderful space with raised beds tucked inside a wooden fence that's the most cheery shade of lavender. 

Every time we visit, I say to my southern beau "I'm coveting this garden in the worst of ways." 

"One day," he says. "One day, you will have a garden that is even better than this." 

And I believe him. But until then, I'll tend to my mint plant, leggy and sparse as it reaches for the sliver of sun that shines onto my patio. I'll water my fern with its three spindly leaves. I'll pinch the flowers off my basil that I use for homemade pesto. 

I'll love my little patio babies as if they are headed for the cover of Better Homes & Gardens...but I'll know that just a stone's throw down the road is a garden that the whole state tries to claim as its own.