A Tomato By Any Other Name

Every year I write about my little deck garden and my travails with tomatoes. This year was an amazing year for one of my three tomato plants. I like gardening, but also have commitment issues. I prefer having the carefree fun of dating a few plants, rather than the daunting responsibility of marrying a whole dang gahden.

My lovely and talented writer friend Jennie Chu (who also designed my great header BTW) has no such issues about her tomatoes and published this beautiful, moving piece about gardening. She’s the real deal. Enjoy!

My American Dream Is Green

The American dream had been a myth for me throughout the 30 or so years that I’d lived in the United States. I couldn’t fully grasp how the concept of “the pursuit of happiness” fit into a superbusy, superfast American life. It was not until I started to grow plants on the porch of my two-family house on a quiet street in Boston that I had an epiphany.

Gardening does not come naturally to me. I was not exposed to it as a child in Taiwan. The city where I grew up, Taipei, was a jungle of massive concrete high-rises in shades of gray. Between the monoliths were a few picturesque parks filled with ponds, gardens, and pagoda pavilions for people seeking a bit of tranquility.

My fellow Taipei residents didn’t seem to mind the absence of green. They lived in apartments and grew flowers in pots indoors, in concrete courtyards, on balconies, or on the buildings’ flat roofs to satisfy their gardening needs. No one grew herbs or vegetables. Why bother? Fresh produce was a plentiful bargain in daily markets nearby. Garlic, ginger, and scallions were given away as a token of thanks with the purchase of meat, poultry, and seafood. Read the rest of this fine piece.

Illustration credit: Karen Norris


  1. Thanks Sandy! I harvested a few tomatoes this year, a different breed than the ones I usually planted. They’re juicy and sweet. I still have five more hanging. Hope they’ll turn red. If not, I’ll have to look up to see what to do with green tomatoes!!

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