Lessons in Gardening
I’ve never been much of a green thumb. I did grow and tend a fern of some sort when I was a kid. I was really quite proud of that as I remember back now. Since we live in the middle o’ nowhere with lots of green space around us I thought this year that I’d finally get my act together and at least TRY gardening.
I asked advice. I got a list from several good friends. I scoped it out. I procrastinated….erm…..a lot. I finally got ’round to planting some things in containers and in the yard around the porch in early June I think. The tomatoes died first. Poor tomatoes. It was like they never had a chance. As soon as I got a small bit of fruit on one Miles got excited and pulled it off to show me. Oy. It never really recovered and eventually it just gave up the ghost.
The herbs did well although I’m pretty sure I saw them giving me dirty looks now and again. The sunflowers my daughter grew from seed are AWESOME and taking over the world, which is absolutely fine by me. The rosemary bush is thriving and offering lovely scents even as I walk past it. Very kind, indeed.
The lavender, however, ah me. It came to me in sad condition. It was big but looked a bit dicey. I bought it because of it’s size. I had a big pot for the deck I needed a big plant and I love lavender. I spent a lot of time talking to it, watering it, pruning away the dead stuff. It was starting to look a little bit alright really and then…I took a an out town trip. I forgot to leave word for someone to water the plants. Um. Oops.
When I got home after several bone dry Tennessee days followed by a torrential downpour I found that most of the plants had done fairly well. The lavender did not fare so well. It was dark and stormy when I got home but I still peered out the window to check and even in the dark and rain I could see it suffering. The next morning I spend some time mourning the poor shriveled brown thing. I had intended to toss it right away and put something else in there as quickly as possible because someone told me once that dead plants convey a bad vibe to a place. I went to do the deed and I found I just couldn’t let it go.
I started to pick away the deadest parts and made an agreement with myself that I’d remove as much as I could, wait a few days and if there was new growth I’d keep it. So that’s what I did. It looked pretty scraggly that first day. I thought this must be plant hospice, just waiting for the last breath and then the burial. A strange thing, though, today. New green leaves showed up. At first I nearly missed them. I picked away more dead areas so that I could see them better and the closer I looked the more green I could see. I feel cautiously optimistic now I suppose. I’ll give it a little more time because to be honest, I don’t know that I have anything to lose by giving it time and attention. I kept telling it today that it COULD come back and it could be strong. (Ok, yes, I talk like this to both people and to plants, sue me.)
After all this today I see how this whole thing has mirrored my life this last few weeks. Things have been hard with the people side of my life too. There has been some disease, some destruction, some dry days and then near hurricane. I’ve felt so ready to toss it away and start something new. Community is hard. It just is. And so today after tending my sick plant I was reminded of just how much tending relationships need. They are not self watering, they are not machine made, they’re organic and need attention and care. This was a good lesson today.