The Wonder of Radishes


Tomatoes burgeon;

July heat is the reason for

stems heavy with blooms,

excessive flower clusters

waiting to fruit.


Broccoli rabe overflows

a terra cotta planter;

yellow blossoms pour

over its edges.

In a pot beside it,

arugula drips

with tiny white flowers;

over in the corner,

the grand creeping cucumbers

shoot out leaves larger

than two hand spans

from thick fuzzy stems,

almost overnight.


Friends and neighbors

told me I didn’t

properly plant my seeds;

seems I sowed too many

in my green enthusiasm.

Wearing again their

good intentions, they now warn,

“don’t let everything go to seed,

you won’t be able to eat

what you have over planted.”


I smile and say nothing;

I’ve no desire to consume

these buckets of flowering green.

At least not now. I’m content

to watch nature unfold,

as she will.  I watch her exuberance

in making seeds from flowers,

and she’s none the worse for it.


In the front yard,

I seeded a standing planter,

four feet off the ground.  It’s a garden misfit,

without apparent rhyme or reason in

the order of things.  From its bed,

the radishes have grown over four feet.

Their long, slender stems now rise like

monuments; nearly eight feet

off the ground, they tower over

tomatoes, rabe, arugula, cucumber,

in flowering pink profusion.


The overgrown bulbs

bulge from the soil; they show

their round red roots in shameless

exhibitionism, while their flowering

pink tops wave above.  I never knew that radishes

bloomed delicate pink-magenta flowers

which attract white butterflies; I never imagined dainty

lepidoptera playfully dancing around

fat bellied monuments that sing

red-purple love songs to diaphanous

winged creatures.


Perhaps next year

I will harvest radishes

and rabe and arugula; perhaps next year,

I will see something to eat,

something whose beauty

is folded into an even greater beauty.

This year I’m happy

to watch radishes in




2 Replies to “The Wonder of Radishes”

  1. Julia,

    I agree with the sentiment that one can enjoy a garden on its own terms rather than feel guilt at not harvesting the edibles. Lovely poem (though I confess it did make me want to eat a radish).


  2. Stewart,

    Despite my aesthetic claims, I think if the writing made you want to eat a radish, I was successful. Thanks for stopping by.


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