Sunday, December 16, 2012

G is Green Garden

G is a very good letter. Lots of words start with G: gross, garbage, geek, ghoul, galoshes and the title of a new TV show – “Go On.” The show like these words is not giving me inspiration.

Garage and gardens works better for me today. Not much in common you might think. Well think again. Several years ago I started getting my cars serviced at a local garage ( that was highly recommended, after receiving a gigantic repair estimate from a local unnamed-dealership. The cost was considerably lower and with a slightly different emphasis on the essential repairs needed. Three years later the car is still running, and running quite well.

Needless to say the repairs were excellent and I have continued to use this local business. Ownership of two cars, one of which is over ten years old and the second six years old, requires regular visits for basic maintenance and occasional repairs. Our normal family routine is for me to bring in one of the cars at 8 am and my wife will then drive me to work. Later in the day one of my co-workers will drop me off at the repair shop.

You would think that after many visits to the automotive center and the fact that we pass the shop during our normal course of travel several times a month that you would notice various details about the shop. It is near our veterinarian’s office, there is a transmission repair business behind it, a dry cleaning shop next door, across the street is “head shop” and it is down the street from a “hyrdo-colonscopy” center. Don’t ask about the sign on the outside of that business, too weird for words but I have included a picture for your edification.

On my last visit I did notice something that I missed on previous visits or drive-bys (not shootings). A small patch of the grassy parking lot was fenced off and I wondered about it.

“Louie, what’s that?” I asked Louie Jr. when I picked up my car.

“Oh, that’s my dad’s garden.”

Garden and Garage

Louie Jr. went on to tell me that his father maintains the garden during the spring and early summer and grows tomatoes, eggplants, and a small variety of other vegetables. During the peak of the San Antonio summer (plus 95 degree days) he lets the garden go because it is too hot for him to properly work it.  Then as the weather cools down he prepares a winter garden (something that is rather easy in deep South Texas).
Winter garden preparation - December 2012
On my web site ( ) I have a Public Art section that includes a section on a community garden ( in San Antonio. It is unusual for my Alpha-blog series to link to my other interest of documenting the Public Art in San Antonio, but given the chance there is nothing like self-promotion.

One garden is for personal pleasure and the other is for community good. But I am sure that the participants of each enjoy and value their gardens equally.

At least two Oriental restaurants in the area have gardens where they grow various fresh herbs for their use. Once Iris wondered about lemon grass while dining at a Vietnamese restaurant and was given a tour of their garden, tucked between the building and parking lot.

I am a city boy and my gardening skills are limited. My motto is if it is green, it is grass. When I moved into our first home I created and worked a fairly ambitious backyard garden for two or three years. One year a mischievous worker at the garden center switched green peppers to jalapenos to my surprise. At that time I didn’t care for jalapenos but now I rather like them on occasion. My assistant (Iris) fled the garden after too many insect and worm encounters. The heat finally finished me and the garden.

Two years ago I attempted container or patio gardening. A few big containers of tomatoes were planted and maintained for brief time. The heat again killed the plants and my efforts. The concrete patio and containers held too much of the South Texas heat. These days I prefer the farmer’s markets for in-season vegetables and the supermarket the rest of the year.

The message I want to convey is: Gardening is better when left for farmers and auto mechanics.

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  1. This was a great article dad. see ya next Sunday.

  2. Warren, I have been trying for days to make it over here to read this post. Finally tonight I have time to myself.

    I enjoyed this piece and a amazed at how some people can turn a small space into a productive garden. I need to take heed and reclaim my garden from the weeds.