Inez Castor

Every year about this time I try to master the trick of being two places at once. Sometimes I can almost make it happen, coming around a corner just in time to see my back disappearing around another corner.

I need to be in the yard, taking care of all those big jobs that have to happen before winter. At the same time, there are things going on in the larger community that I want to enjoy.

So I work really well for a while, and then I kick over the traces and go play. Last weekend, Mary and I ran off to spend the day at the Smith River Festival.

The weather was perfect, the music was upbeat and the food was luscious. It was a day full of children, elders and the world's sweetest burro. With just a little imagination, we might have been in a Mexican village, and if you've never had a mango on a stick, you're missing a great treat.

Sharing the love

Contrary to popular belief, the primary purpose of a garden is not to have the earliest tomatoes or the most exotic flowers. It's not even to keep the neighbors from leaving nasty, anonymous messages on the phone machine regarding the use of empty dog food cans and beer bottles as landscape ornaments.

Gardening is actually a lot like fishing and golf. We get to do it outside, flowing in the rhythm of the Earth. In the out-of-doors, where there's plenty of room to move freely and the air is fresh and clean, we breathe deeper and stretch farther.

We start feeling warm and loose, and by the time we're through, we can be positively giddy with the smell of the day and the warmth of the sun. And that, my friend, is the primary purpose of all these activities.

And one of the best parts of this seasonal love affair with Earth and sky and water and sun, is the sharing. Fish stories are best when shared with other fishermen and only another golfer can truly appreciate that hole-in-one. Gardeners listen with avid interest to tales of gophers outwitted, slugs slaughtered and deer denied access to the salad bar.

We share our plants, seeds, bulbs, veggies, flowers and herbs. We pass on tips and tricks. This summer spend time with other gardeners. Join a gardening club or the fuchsia society.

Post a note at the library or put a notice in the paper asking interested people to get in touch. Let local nursery owners know about your interest in finding others of like mind; they know us all and probably have excellent suggestions.

Participate in life

Summer, like life itself, is all too short, and you don't want to spend it all working. It might make a neat garden, but it won't deposit much in your memory account.

So take every opportunity to join in the life of the larger community at festivals, fairs and the farmer's market. You'll encounter fellow gardeners and old friends, then come home ready to tackle the work and full of fresh ideas.

Reach Inez Castor, a long-time Triplicate columnist, at