Notes from Windward: #68
A Garden Romance
Romeo and Juliet meet in Vermadise
One of the long grow-beds in Vermadise is unexpectedly aflame with volunteer
squash, and I found our very own Romeo and Juliet playing out between
the groundling squash and the strawberries planted above in grow tubes. One of
the squash has reached up and wound its curling tendril around a
hanging strawberry runner as if to pull itself nearer to its high
volunteer squash below, strawberries above
I've been watching the struggle for several weeks now,
gauging the strain on the two vines as they intertwine, wondering if
their impossible romance will ever be fully realized. The strawberry
plant continues to bear cheery fruit, but the squash, though flowering
on the ground, has put great energy into its climb among the berries,
and now boasts proud leaves towering all the way to the roof, its
highest tendrils latching it to the screen that covers Vermadise.
can't imagine that this display of aerial agility will result in the
production of bigger or more plentiful squashes, and the plant seems
to have far overshot his Juliet waiting on her balcony. I don't know
much about squash psychology, but we all do crazy things in the name
of love; we'll just have to wait this one out and hope for a tasty
a squash tendril carresses a strawberry
In the making of this article, I also did a bit of research into the
proper usage of the word "gourd." I was interested in identifying an
alternative for "squash," so as to avoid writing "squash" fifty times
in one paragraph, but the relation of the terms "squash" and "gourd"
seems to be a bit of a grey area. Some would prefer to identify
squashes, gourds, and pumpkins as separate but closely related plants
within the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes cucumbers and
melons, while others would use "gourd" as more of an umbrella term.
"Squash" originates from a Narragansett word, while "gourd" passes
back through Middle English and Old French to the Latin cucurbita,
from which the family of plants takes its name.
Dictionary.com informed me that one can be "out of one's gourd"
(crazy), while the Microsoft Word thesaurus reminded me only that
"squash" is a handy verb when dealing with mosquitoes. And so in
today's word lesson I have come to no great conclusions, except that
at the American Gourd Society's webpage, you can "send a gourdgeous
postcard to a friend!" "Light up your life with gourds!" says today's
postcard, featuring a hand-painted gourd lamp. Clearly there is much
more than Shakespeare at work in our garden.
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68