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The garden of Husband-Head

Heidi Rice
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

“I’m going to get you a pair of denim overalls and a straw bonnet,” I announced to Husband-Head on a recent weekend as I watched him working in the yard.

Husband-Head just laughed.

“And I could put my thumbs under my armpits and sing, ‘Eee-ei-eee-ei-oh?'” he suggested.



But with the arrival of warm weather, Husband-Head was in mega-planting mode.

I’m not quite sure whether it’s actually the act of planting the seeds itself that he enjoys, or if it’s the pride of creating and raising something that isn’t children.



So Husband-Head made his annual trek to the garden center and came home with all kinds of stuff.

In the hanging baskets on our porch, he planted marigolds, petunias and pansies. A million sunflowers grow each year along a fence in the front yard, along with all the other trees, bushes and plants he’s planted.

“It looks like a freakin’ nature park out here,” I said, gazing at the pond and the fountain, the little birdies flapping around the feeder and taking baths, along with the wildflowers and various other plants. “You could have a whole flora and fauna expedition here.” The amazing part being that when we bought the house, the entire yard was nothing but pea gravel.

“And over here I have strawberries, raspberries and blueberries,” he pointed out proudly. “That’s if the birds don’t get ’em first.”

At $8 a bag of bird food, I don’t really care if they do. The little “piglets” as we call them, go through a canister of food in one hour.

“Now come see what I have going in the back yard,” Husband-Head urged.

I followed dutifully, not knowing what to expect. It could be anything from plants to a pinball machine.

Thankfully, it was a bunch of vegetables.

Although these veggie plants didn’t look like any I’d ever seen.

“Ummm … why are they all hanging upside down on the monkey bar?” I asked curiously, looking at a bunch of pots hanging from a structure Husband-Head had made. “We used to do that in second grade and all the blood would rush to our heads. …”

‘They’re ‘Topsy-Turveys,'” he said proudly. “The plants grow upside down ” there’s no need to pull weeds and bugs can’t get into them.”

As seen on TV!

I remembered when Husband-Head bought some tomato tree plants from a coupon flyer in the newspaper that promised a whole boatload of tomatoes ” complete with a picture of some chick holding a bucket and plucking all kinds of baseball-sized tomatoes off the tree. “That never happened for us,” I reminded him. “The plants never got to be more than two inches tall.”

But in his garden this year, he’d planted red peppers, green peppers, large tomatoes, roma tomatoes, sugar snack tomatoes, jalapenos and poblano peppers.

“You’re kinda like Martha Stewart and her garden,” I said, observing the whole garden party. “You definitely need the jaunty bonnet.”

Apparently Martha’s garden is 90-by-150-feet and includes every vegetable known to man and even those that aren’t. It is surrounded by a seven-foot fence, which we’re thinking probably reminds her of the one around the federal prison where she served several years ago.

Then Husband-Head led me over to another part of the garden where he’d planted a bunch of herbs.

He had pots of plants that included thyme, chives, Greek oregano, Italian parsley, curly parsley, basil and sage.

“Parsley, sage … rosemary and thyme!” I crooned to Simon and Garfunkel’s 1968 rendition of “Scarborough Fair” as I inspected the plants and looked at their individual name tags.

Then I looked at one plant that had no identification.

“Is this marijuana?” I whispered suspiciously. “Are we going to become, like, big vegetarian drug dealers?’

“NO,” Husband-Head said emphatically. “But I am thinking of growing some barley and hops. …”

Husband-Head looked over all his growing creations with pride and satisfaction.

Then he stuck his thumbs under his armpits…

Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Her book collection of columns, “Skully Says SHUT IT!” is available for purchase at the Post Independent, http://www.amazon.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com or through her website at http://www.heidirice.com.


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