Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Mistress Mary, Quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With Silver Bells, And Cockle Shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

The familiar poem above is an old nursery rhyme that, unlike most of the nursery rhymes we Baby Boomers grew up listening to in our beds at night, doesn’t have anything to do with Bubonic Plague or the horrific destruction of London Bridge. It appears to simply be a verse about a garden.

Of course, there are potential other meanings. One theory is that it is a religious allegory of Catholicism, with Mary being the mother of Jesus and bells referring to the Sanctus bells. The problem with this theory is that no one can tell whether it’s pro- or anti-Catholic. Seeings as Mary is contrary, I suggest anti.

Another theory is that the poem referred to Queen Mary I of England and her lack of heirs (how does your garden grow, a taunt that seems simply mean. I’m thinking perhaps she was too busy hacking her enemies to little pieces — thereby earning her the nickname Bloody Mary — to worry about procreation).

At any rate, my garden — like Mary’s — is growing. And like Mary, I’m quite contrary most of the time. Especially when I get near the garden and see all of the weeds. Wait, maybe those aren’t weeds. Maybe those are cockle shells…..

I have mentioned in blog posts past that while I love the fresh vegetables of a garden, try as I might, I simply don’t like to garden. It’s the weeds, er, cockle shells. They appear out of nowhere. For a bit of time, they are too small to pull. Then suddenly they have taken over your garden.

This year, Emma planted my garden. She spent nearly a full day on her knees in the dirt, carefully placing argula seeds, green bean seeds, radish seeds, and carrot seeds into the ground. She also planted a tomato and a jalapeno. She then gently watered them and wished them well.

In a short period of time, I could practically hear the plants calling for her. Emma, please come back. Mary, Mary is killing us. 

But I did faithfully water the garden, though I rarely went to take a look at progress. Emma came over on Father’s Day, and went to look at her masterpiece. She came back, patted me on the back, and said, “Well, it looks good.” Since it didn’t, I suspect she was being nice.

Finally, yesterday afternoon, I was brave enough to peek at the garden. I even pulled out some weeds, er, cockle shells. I carefully looked at my radishes, and to my delight, they looked great! And ready to pull, trim, wash, and eat…..

With Radish Success under my belt, I returned to the garden to look at the arugula. Eureka! Or as Emma, who is from Paris, would say, “Voila!” I cut some of the beautiful leaves…..

When we spent our time in Italy, nearly every time we would order a pizza, Bill’s would include arugula. So I heated up our leftover pizza for dinner, but included freshly-cut arugula and a glass of red. Buon appetito!

I will tell you that I am a fearless gardener when it comes to gardening in pots…..

My big boy tomato plant even has some tomatoes…..

And why is it that I have such success in gardening in pots? Simple. No weeds, er, cockle shells.

In a month or so, I will be eating a homegrown sliced red tomato. And I won’t be contrary.

This post linked to Grand Social

6 thoughts on “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

  1. I harvested my first jalapeño last night from the plant you gave me. It was little but perfect for the guacamole hamburger I ate for dinner. I love this time of year!

  2. Emma and you have both done a wonderful job. I mean look at those radishes! Enjoy those fresh vegies. Paul and I treat ourselves to fresh tomato sandwiches in the summer. Mmmm, good!

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