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Issue Date: June 2007 Issue


Gardening is serious business.


Hanna, www.thisgardenisillegal.com, Illustration by Paula Pindroh
I won't kid you and fill your head with visions of happy plants, because the ones that live in my yard don't have time for such silliness.

They're in the business of surviving. Because that is what plants in Cleveland must do if they hope to see another summer.

They must survive late snow and early frosts. They must survivedrought and deluge. They must survive temperatures that rise andfall like the heartbeat of Mother Nature. Growing in this climate is not for the faint of stem, and only the hardiest of plants prove they can't be brought down.
 
But that is not to say gardening here is unrewarding. Challenging, yes, but so is everything else in life worth having. As Clevelanders, we never do anything half-heartedly. We are die-hard sportsfans, die-hard workers and die-hard gardeners. We live to beat theodds, and the odds are always stacked against us. But that has never stopped us in the past and it never will.
 
When things come too easy, we tend to forget how wonderful they are. There is nothing better than a summer day spent toiling in the blazing sun working to grow flowers and vegetables and weeds. (Tobe honest, I don't really have to work hard to grow the weeds. But as they are residents of my yard, I feel I must include them.)
 
And, those unbearably hot summer days only underscore the joyous relief found in our summer evenings. Too little rain, and summer thunderstorms become precious moments that give us reason to pause and relax.
 
I wouldn't trade my garden for anything. Who wants a tropical paradise, really? Where is the fun in a garden that cares for and grows by itself? Give me one that has made it through a couple Cleveland summers and I willshow you a paradise that was made for real gardeners.

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