The garden needs room for future plans, and the scraggly bed of roses grown from my sister Cindy’s cuttings are not only vulnerable, but expendable. Unruly and short-seasoned, they make an impression in May but soon fade and drop, leaving long thorny stems stretching over the walkway. They also take up one of my best spaces, a raised bed on a southern exposure, a perfect place for spring greens, irises and daffodils. I’ll uproot the rose shrubs this coming month, but I will take cuttings, root and find room for them. Indeed I will.
Dice a pound of sweet banana peppers (you can throw a hot one in if you like), a bell pepper, a large white onion and shred finely a quarter head of cabbage. Add a grated carrot and two finely-minced cloves of garlic. Dust with salt and sugar (about 3:1), pack into jars and cover with hot vinegar. Seal, cool and refrigerate for two days before using. This relish is very good with grilled meats of any kind, particularly sausages.
Given a comfortable sense of self and a few sensible precautions, gardening in the nude can be a rewarding experience. Who can deny the pleasures of sun and breeze upon the skin, and those parts of your body not usually exposed to light and air are certain to benefit. Such an experience is particularly rewarding for gardeners who strive to be more in touch with Mother Earth and forgo such artificiality as pesticides and chemical fertilizers, but if you happen to have a little Miracle-Gro on hand, don’t let that stop you. Besides, who’s to say that being au naturel won’t give you a more intimate relationship with your fruit and flowers? They may well respond to your nakedness with an unabashed vigor of their own.