GARDENING AND DEPRESSION

Val's heirloom tomatoes

Val’s heirloom tomatoes

Gardening for many people is a cure for depression, a calming and even cheering activity.  That is true for me except towards the end of August, when the angle of light changes,  the echinacea dries out, daylily blooms give way to wrinkly green blobs, the seasonal birds start leaving; the whole end of summer is disheartening.  It will be another six to eight weeks until fall color kicks in and last year’s sweaters will begin to look inviting.  The dog days of summer are hard on flower gardeners because we watch all that we planted and tended wither and die, or at least look as good as dead.  Last week I saw a goldfinch picking seeds out of a dried flowerhead and it gave me a temporary boost, but it takes a relentlessly positive outlook to enjoy the waning of one’s garden–especially if, as in New England, six months of winter lie ahead.

But all is not discouraging.  In late August, there’s another time-honored way to ward off The Glums:  the end-of-summer harvest of home-grown tomatoes, cukes, corn and all the other tasty bits from the kitchen garden.  It’s enough to turn one into a temporary vegetarian.

Val's cucumbers.

Val’s cucumbers

Photos of her vegetable garden by Valerie Knott, gardener extraordinaire.

 

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About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.

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