Amyitis, Lisa, the King and I

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Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

My wife likes to garden. I have learned to eat my vegetables over the last few years on a grand scale. Therefore we are a perfect match. We are not the first couple in history who’ve shared an interest in gardening. Even before the birth of Christ there was love in a garden near the city of Babylon. I recently built elevated gardens for my wife in the fine tradition began by King Nebuchadnezzar II when he created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

First off, let’s release a little wind from my sails. The garden I built was a small token of love and affection for my wife and was even fun to create. I didn’t create a mountain (which the king did) but did move a fair amount of black dirt. There are some parallels in the two stories, however. The King married his wife, Amyitis, in about 600 BC. When they married Amyitis joined the King in Mesopotamia which was flat unlike her beautiful, mountainous home near Medes. When Lisa and I married she left her home to join me at our farm much like this couple from twenty-six decades ago. Lisa’s ancestral home was east of St. Hilaire, Mn and we now live west of St Hilaire. I realize the culture shock must have been incredible so I decided a garden would comfort her much like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon comforted the young bride Amyitis. If Amyitis and Lisa knew each other they could probably share similar stories of how their husbands planned the gardens incessantly, made a big deal of how much effort it took to build and then had to show everyone their huge accomplishment. Considering Lisa’s patience with me, perhaps I should build her one more garden.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were huge. According to historical accounts they measured fifty MILES long by eighty feet thick by three hundred and twenty feet high-although other accounts suggest they may have been smaller. That sounds a lot like the way I’d describe Lisa’s elevated gardens. The difference between my description and their actual dimensions may vary by quite a lot. Lisa’s garden is made from railroad ties and measure four feet by eight feet (inside dimension for those who care) and about eighteen inches high. The height allows you to start gardening earlier and continue later than most gardens. It also keeps out the rabbits and if Amyitis and the King had no rabbits you must remember that peasants can do just as much damage on a summer night. I like to build heavy and the ties are attached with one foot spikes which I drove in with a sledge hammer.

I cut the ties with a sawz-all with a ten inch blade because ties quickly dull chainsaw chain. The bottom was covered with weed-cover then rotted straw, old manure and finally black dirt. I enjoyed building it almost as much as Amyitis (excuse, I meant Lisa) will hopefully enjoy using it.

The Hanging Gardens joined other great accomplishments as one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. I don’t believe Lisa’s elevated gardens will occupy such lofty perch at least on a global scale. Both gardens do share a place in that they were a gift and an expression of love between two couples. Plus there is nothing and I mean nothing, like freshly dug, new potatoes.