At our house, the back is a small world with a climbing tree for the boys, a garden, and a yard defined by mismatched fencing in various stages of repair. Beyond lies swampy woods.
It’s my husband’s garden that occupies the heart of our backyard world — not unobtrusively tucked away or off to the side, not removed like in the way-back, but right there. Right there when you drive up the driveway, right there when you walk down the walk; it definitely scored prime real estate.
My husband planted Jerusalem artichokes in his East Hampton vegetable garden last fall. He ordered them from an online catalog that a friend had recommended. They looked like pieces of ginger root — that light brown color and that gnarled shape. My husband made an area for them along the north side of the garden fence, and then he planted the tubers about three inches down in the ground. He installed a mesh barrier about six inches deep around the area to prevent underground traveling creatures from eating the tubers. And that was it.
Out this week in paperback, Helen Schulman’s “This Beautiful Life” is a highly contemporary tale of woe. The novel looks at how a family manages and fails to manage in the grip of a thoroughly distressing sticky wicket brought on by the ills of the exponential Internet and exacerbated by the ills of the family in question.