Signs of spring are everywhere. Everyone I talk to is feeling the urge to plant something. Not me. I come from a long line of green thumbs. Just thinking about keeping plants alive makes me anxious.
My earliest memories include my grandparents’ garden in Florida. The rows of okra and tomatoes were so tall, I navigated my way by the feel of leaves and the sound of my grandmother’s voice. I loved the fragrance as I brushed by them and the warmth of the sand between my toes.
Most of my childhood was spent among things my mother grew. We had tea parties in the rose gardens; made flower chains from daisies and zinnias and woke to the perfume of narcissus outside the windows.
In the spring the daffodils danced while the tiny vegetables went into the ground. In the summer there were more tomatoes and peppers than we could eat. The garden continued into September with an occasional pumpkin or gourd . And when it got cold, there was cabbage and oranges.
Flowers and vegetables flourished under her watch.
On the other hand, the list of plants I have killed is as long as my granddaughter’s list to Santa. (It includes a cactus.)
This year my husband says gardening will be more difficult because rodents are populating our neighborhood. Chased from their habitat by construction, they have few places to go. He has spent days making sure our yard is not one of them.
What’s a black thumb gardener to do? With rats and my poor luck, will planting anything be worth the trouble?
Alas, there are no guarantees in gardening.
My mother had a sign in her garden that read:
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Planting anything is about hope. Even a green thumb and the “Farmers Almanac” can’t promise everything. A true gardener is giddy at the mere possibility of what her plants will become, not the way they look when she tucks them into the ground. Not the drooping and sagging along the way.
Gardening is like parenting. If we planted our hopes and dreams on babies with colic or whining teenagers, we would have less children.
But gardeners hope and water. They prune and pray and water some more. They chase away insects and rodents.
I’m sure there will be new plants in my wheelbarrow soon. But there’s still a little more worrying to do.
What have you planted this year? Any techniques for chasing away rodents? Any gardening wisdom to calm me?