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Gifts from someone else’s garden are the best. You get something in your yard from a friend, and they are no worse off for having shared with you. Every year when the plant returns you are reminded of this friend and his kindness in sharing something from his garden.

We have about ten clumps of elephant garlic coming up. Each clump has as many as a half dozen individual plants. I put them in three years ago when a friend brought over a bucket with a clump of garlic and dirt inside. I divided the bulbs into cloves and planted them in a zigzag pattern, so their gray-green foliage would make a fluffy edging for the area. The first year they didn’t do much, and I left them alone. The next year they came up again, and I harvested the bulbs, cured them and ate them. I didn’t leave any bulbs in the ground and I didn’t plant new ones, so I was surprised to see them coming up again this year.

I remember now when my friend showed them to me in his garden he said they leave behind what he called “acorns” that look like garbanzo beans and seed for the next year. I had forgotten this, but now they are sprouting in the yard, so he must have been right about that.

I had previously tried to grow Italian garlic that I ordered online, but it quickly figured out it was not in Italy and died. This garlic has a humble local origin. My friend originally found it in an open field and brought a clump to his garden. He later subdivided that clump with me. I love the abundance in that imagery, something freely gotten and freely given, spreading comforting aromas in multiple kitchens years later.

Today you receive something free that multiplies on its own, the love sent with this note. As you find worthy recipients, scoop some out and share. Yours will still grow bigger, and if it dies, others can give you back what you gave them to start love anew.

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