Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brown thumb turns green.

As a child, my only gardening experience was pulling weeds, so I grew up thinking that yard work was hard work. Not fun. Not fulfilling.

Not anymore. Today, I looked down at my hand and saw that I have a green thumb. Yes, literally. I had been deadheading my flowers. I had to laugh.

Then, I shook my head in amazement because when I was a young woman setting out for college, my Gram gave me one of her prized African Violets to take with me. I killed it. I was ashamed. When Gram found out, she gave me a cactus and assured me I couldn’t kill it. She was right. That cactus grew with me through college, jobs, marriage, kids, and several homes and finally died after living a very long life. I used to admire other people's gardens and wonder what in the world made them want to do all that work. When the kids were little, the only plants outside I really loved were my roses and only because I could cut my own long stem bouquets.

Now, I only have two rose bushes. Yes, I love them. But I’m not as exclusive as I used to be and I love my plants for more than mere bouquets. I have lemon verbena, rosemary, lavender, basil and catnip. I make basil pesto every year. My cats love their Christmas catnip toys. I have little bags of lavender and rosemary stashed in drawers around the house. My patio is filled with potted flowers pansies, lobelia, verbena, hybrid dahlias and carnations.

My yard has blossomed over the years with an assortment of flowers, trees and evergreens. I have lilacs, holly, honeysuckle, peony bushes and plum, cedar, witch hazel and crab apple trees. This year, in spite of the long rainy season, I have flowers like day lilies, dahlias and clematis all blooming at the same time.

Several years ago, I tried my hand at a vegetable garden. I loved it. Growing my own salad greens, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and kale. This year, I started some beets and swiss chard from seed. Last year all I got was leaves and no beets, so this year, I hope I get some to cook up. When dinner rolls around I love making my salad by simply going out my back door.

Yes, I still pull weeds. And, no, I still don’t like it. But I realize now that there’s so much more to gardening than bark dust and weeds. There’s flowers, herbs, veggies and holiday wreaths that come from outside in my yard. And inside I grow begonias, fig, jade, orchids, as well as African violets and a cactus, that I hope, would make my Gram proud. I guess she knew that my brown thumb would turn green someday. She was right.

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