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I’m not very good with plants. No – that is actually a bit of an understatement – I stink at taking care of plants – indoor or outdoor!
I have never had a big interest in growing things – never been someone who liked to stick my hands in dirt. I think my mom would attest to that statement.
I wasn’t a “mud-pie” kind of girl. The only time I can remember enjoying getting dirty was when I would take the hose on a summer day and after entertaining myself and cooling off, I would aim the water stream directly into the ground, to see how big a hole I could get. I know my mom didn’t enjoy the holes I left in the yard – but I had fun.
Growing up, I never helped my mom plant flowers, or work on her backyard vegetable garden. I like looking at pretty plants and flowers – I just don’t have much interest in cultivating them.
I can count – on one hand, the number of house plants I have had. There was a violet I had in my first apartment in the mid-80s, I own a Peace Lily, some unidentified tree-like thing someone gave me and a cactus that is similar to a Christmas Cactus but isn’t. I killed a tree a friend of mine sent to Scot and me when we moved into our house.
When we decided to buy our house, it was late winter, so we really didn’t have a sense of what we were getting into in terms of the plants. When we moved in it was May, and the plants had gone wild. The first thing to go was the vegetable garden in the backyard. Next was the pear tree growing in the backyard. Palmer was a toddler, and all I could picture were the hundreds of bees that would come with a fruit tree dropping ripened fruit.
We have some lovely, low maintenance bushes in our yard, and a few different flowers that come up every year with no interference from me.
When we first moved into our house, I subscribed to a gardening club that sent me a series of cards each month about gardening, different plants and how to care for them. I thought I would get lots of ideas. I did – but they all came back to requiring me to stick my hands in dirt.
I don’t apologize for my lack of interest. But I do wonder why. Both of my grandmothers had lovely gardens; my dad’s mom especially. She had a teeny tiny garden at her house in Brooklawn, N.J. If her back yard was 12 feet wide, I would be surprised. But she took every square inch on either side of the sidewalk and turned it into a riot of color and scents every summer. I loved sitting in her backyard.
My mom also had wonderful color in the backyard – flowers, blooming bushes and a bountiful vegetable garden every summer. And my dad – he obviously inherited his green thumb from his mom. My dad’s specialty was roses. He babied them and coaxed lovely blooms. I miss seeing my dad’s roses, and have told Scot a few times that maybe I’ll plant a few. I just never seem to get around to it.
My total lack of any green in my thumb is coming back to haunt me, thanks to both of my kids.
Brannon asks me every year if we can plant something in the backyard, and we never do, although I have offered to get some planters and flowers. I think he wants to grow them from seeds. This year he wanted to grow corn. And while I may feel a little bit guilty about the flowers – I don’t regret saying no to the corn.
Palmer has signed up for AP Biology next year, and he has a summer project to complete. Wouldn’t you know it – his project is that he has to grow and keep alive two plants – a Begonia and a Coleus.
He has to do it himself, of course, which is a good thing. Because in this house – anyone with an interest in gardening is on their own. So when he brought those plants home in June, I turned him loose on the internet and he had a long conversation with my sister to get some tips!
Maybe the experience will launch another generation of gardener in the family. Maybe I’ll learn by watching how he does it this summer. Maybe it will spark something in me - and if I don’t go for the rose bushes, maybe I’ll at least have enough confidence to get another house plant.