Joyce Wadler’s Wacky Tomato Tale

Read Joyce Wadler’s story about William Alexander in today’s Home & Garden section of the Times.

The section is usually home to items like “The Reluctant Lily,” a Q and A. Urk.

Wadler is significantly more sophisticated; not just making lemons out of lemonade, she’s really writing now. Ostensibly it’s a book review: ‘WILLIAM ALEXANDER, by vocation a technology guy, is a home gardener for the love of it and the author of a new book, ‘The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden.'”

But it’s so much more. Read it for grafs like these:

After learning that apple trees would not bear fruit unless cross-pollinated with trees of another variety, he harvested blossoms from trees near his office, mashed the blossoms and spread the pollen on the tree. That evening, he writes, he made ardent love to his wife.

But trying to create the perfect garden took a toll. Mr. Alexander began with a dream of organic farming, which failed. The cost of creating the vegetable garden was considerable — $16,565, not counting yearly expenditures on seeds and plants. Mr. Alexander spent every leisure moment in the garden. At book’s end Mr. Alexander, now suffering from a torn disk, is wondering how to make gardening fun again.

Money, sex, aging. That’s real gardening!

– Tom McGeveran

Joyce Wadler’s Wacky Tomato Tale