The trouble with me….
Let me begin again.
The trouble with gardens is…..me.
I cannot, should not, better not, attempt any kind of anticipatory planting.
In other words, I should expect nothing after hoeing, fertilizing, raking, weeding, watering toiling, sweating, and planting. Of course, I do get some exercise. I expect that is something. And fresh air is nice. I expect that is something, too. Then there’s the satisfaction of communing with nature. Yes, I expect so.
But blast it all to bits! I can’t get a seed to germinate and stick it’s spiky little head out of the dirt to save my soul! A living plant in a pretty pot in moderate sun and receiving the proper amount of water will give up its photosynthetic ghost within a week. And I expect that’s the worst thing of all!
I come from a long, extinguished line of planters and growers and farmers. Florists, horticulturists, and people making a living from the rich, black, Midwestern soil fertilize my heritage.
I’ve now come to believe I am adopted. Their DNA clearly does not run deep in my veins. I am but a graft on the family tree.
Try again, you say? It’s a piece of cake, you say? ANYbody can plant a seed and coax it to life, you say?
I say, X!!&&*^%!!
Growing up, my Mama planted roses and Rose of Sharons. She pulled dandelions and crabgrass. My daddy laid out Fescue grass and cut it regular, felt like a carpet. My grandpa raised forests of corn, acres of beans, miles of hay and alfalfa, year after year after year. My Auntie Grace won competitions for her orchids. My Grandmama jarred her Strawberry Rhubarb jam and sold it for a premium to markets near and far.
Not one of them would let me near a water bucket nor a pair of garden gloves.
I expect my anti-bontanist tendencies showed themselves early.
I satisfied my sorrow over my want of green thumbs by refusing to eat vegetables and turning my nose up at Billy O’Dell when he brought be flowers on the first day of third grade. Things what bore themselves by sprouting from the dirty ol’ ground, I determined, were not my cup of tea.
And no, I didn’t drink tea either.
But, I sprouted myself, up and out and away from the misery of horticultural household Hell, moved off to college, then married and had my own children. I eased away from my bias against vegetation and stigma and seaweed. Even ventured to name my babies “Lily” and “Daisy” after favorite aunts. And while my husband’s name is Basil, I forgive him. He’s British and can’t help it.
My wallpaper before I painted it over? Giant hydrangeas.
My silverware passed down from Great Grandma Iris? Buttercup.
And my stemware, is, well, STEMware.
Surrounded, I had no choice but to succumb. I fed my babies vegetables, albeit from a glass jar. I sang “Ring Around the Rosie” ad nauseum. I “flowered” my cake pans, for pity’s sake! I had given in and given up for this world was a florinated, deciduous, perennial jungle. And I had no choice by to stay rooted and, ahem, grow where I was planted. That, or wilt and whither, turning brown and slimy and covered with bugs.
Still, once I hit the dark mossy bottom of my flowerpot of despair, something inside me, some little bud of hope, began it’s little dance of life, aiming it’s nubby green face upward, eager to bloom and blossom. I could feel the urge, the nudge to grow past my little seed pod and spread my branches skyward! Petrified, but determined, I felt I was beginning to flower.
It began with geraniums. Wilted on the way home.
And every child should have a wheat grass filled Easter basket! All my children’s friends had them! They only cried a little when the bottom of their baskets were cushioned with white speckled potting soil.
Don’t even get me STARTED on those durned Chia Pets!
Mother’s Day corsages? Browned on the way to brunch.
Daffodils from my beautiful girls picked from the beds in the park to surprise me? Thrown in the trash bin when the rangers discovered the beds had been violated by my vicious curly-headed moppets!
And so, I’ll not say I’ve thrown in the shovel completely, but facts must be faced. When it comes to Flora and Fauna, Fauna ##&&@*^-s all over the Flora.
We got a dog.