My Gardening Angel – A Fertilizing Friendship

April 22, 2011

When we moved to the fertile farm region of Georgian Bay, Ontario, I decided to see if I had a green thumb.

I solicited the help of my retired neighbour, Dick, who seemed to be able to grow anything well. We built 3 raised beds and added the right mixture of soil and manure. He gave me solid start-up and maintenance advice and lent me his books on gardening. The best thing he did was tell me ‘Don’t worry, Kel, it’s easy.’

The first crop I attempted was zucchini. I took the little pouch of pre-packaged seeds and proceeded to put them into the ground until the entire lot was planted. Anyone who has ever grown zucchini will know that the amount of seeds you get in one pack is enough to plant a small field nevertheless a 5 ft2 garden bed. See where this is going?

Being a water conservationist meant I was against artificially hydrating the garden. I had a very laissez-faire attitude and figured they’d survive on their own with some intermittent help from the hose despite the over 35 degree summer days we often experienced.

Within a short amount of time, I started to see fresh new little buds popping out of the ground and I was thrilled. Day after day I would see more and more progress. Big green leaves started forming and kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Then came the zucchini. They grew quick and they grew HUGE. The majority of them were each over 2 feet long and had a beautiful rich green colour.

I was producing so many zucchini that I didn’t know what to do with them even after I had made every zucchini dish known to mankind and baked loaves of zucchini bread. I started dropping them off at the post office and the coffee shop. I brought them to work and gave them to every friend who would take them.

I was quite pleased with my new-found green thumb and Dick seemed to take some pride in my victory.

2 years later, Dick and June moved out of the neighbourhood. On schedule and as Dick had instructed the previous years, I planted my zucchini seeds – way less than the first year. The buds came a little bit slower, the soil looked less fertile and in general, the crop was a sad harvest from beginning to end. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong so I called Dick.

He laughed and laughed when I told him my predicament. It turns out that Dick had been watering and fertilizing my garden almost every day for 2 years because he knew I wasn’t doing it near enough!

I chuckle to myself when I plant a new crop of anything and hope Dick is watching and keeping an eye on my garden – I still don’t water them enough.

Dickster, I’m sure you are planting gardens wherever you may be now and teaching newbies, like myself, tricks of the trade. I’m happy you and Junebug are together again – have a rum & coke for me, would ya? xo


kapb_headshot_-_rounded_cornersArtist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara – Experience Newfoundland & life through my artist eyes. Born and raised here on this big rock in the Atlantic Ocean. After my Fine Arts degree and Interior Decorating, lived away for ages. In 2009 moved back with new appreciation for this place. Come hang out and explore with me. Sign up for your Piece of Pye newsletter & art prizes!


  1. Hee hee!! I had the same problem with pumpkins. Didn’t know that one pumpkin vine can produce multiple pumpkins, so I planted 7 of them…had to thin them down to two plants. I told my neighbour that it was the “Blissfully Ignorant Garden”.

  2. I loved that story Keli. What you don’t know is that he fertilized them too.
    I miss our times to-gether in Stayner. Remember how we sat out on our porch
    sippin the odd toddy. I didn’t know what to do with the little garden that I have
    here after Dickie died, so Nancy and I covered it with red mulch and I just put
    a few flower pots around. To-day I went out and something has burrowed through
    the plastic weed protective sheet and ripped it pretty good. Now what do I do……
    Dickie I need you. Remember how I told you that you would be a good writer,
    well your blog is proving it. Love you and Besh…xxxxx

    1. June, I do remember, now that you reminded me, that he fertilized the garden too. I just changed the story to add that piece of info 🙂 I also remember the toddys we drank together. Dick mixed a mean drink. The afternoon that stands out in my head is when I had 3 rum and cokes mixed by Dick and then Besh came over and when I got up to walk to our house, I got hit by the rum wall. I ended up falling in our tub when I lost my balance in the bathroom. I laughed so hard I couldn’t get out!

      What I do when I need garden help is I sit still and think ‘now what would Dick tell me to do?’ and the answer shows up. I feel he’s always around when we need him 🙂 xoxo

  3. What a lovely story❤ We just loved “Richard’s…….Box 732”, visits to the post office………he always had amazing stories to tell us. I also seem to remember being the recipient of some of your monster crop of zucchinis… Merry Christmas Box 1046….we sure miss you guys! I hope I got the box # correct………the old mind ain’t what it used to be…..

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