I love to daydream about acres upon acres at my disposal filled with my gardening triumphs. I could stroll among stalks of corn and whisper lovingly to my prize winning produce. I could plant myself in the soil and eat a salad I picked and held right in the palm of my hand. I often get so caught up in my imagining that I've forgotten the two tiny plots of earth that I do have.
The Epic Rose Fail and A Phoenix Rising
In front of our house, there is a rectangular area of dirt that we can use for shrubs or flowers. For several years we tried keeping a handful of rose bushes there. Early in the season, they were absolutely beautiful, but no matter what, the beetles always came. They decimated the blooms and the leaves and camped out in locust-like swarms. We tried sprays and bags to eliminate them, but they were too determined. Last year, with a heavy heart, I pulled all of them up, scratching myself raw in the process.
Just as I thought this story was over, there was a surprise early this year. I noticed in the back of the patch, behind our satellite dish, there was a tiny rose plant growing near where his parents fell. He is like a Phoenix rising from the ashes and there is no way I will let the beetles destroy him. I had a rose plant that I named JFK as a child, so it is only fitting that this one becomes JFK Jr. I have no idea what color he'll become, but it's an exciting wait.
Every year after Halloween, we have The Great Pumpkin Smash. All you have to do to start this tradition is take your porch pumpkin and let the kids smash it over and over on the sidewalk. It provides at least a few minutes of entertainment. One year, a surprise came from smashing those pumpkins, a new plant growing behind the roses. I really didn't have the space to grow it, but when I recognized the plant, I couldn't not let it grow. I was amazed by how far it spread out and how much it blossomed. We would have our own pumpkins for fall grown right in our tiny yard. As the summer progressed, it seemed like the plant wasn't going to bear any pumpkins and it was growing into the neighbor's yard. It was looking messy and scary, so I went and pulled it out. I've never seen such a long vine and tucked behind some of the leaves that were in the neighbor's yard was the tiniest pumpkin and I had killed it. I wish there was a happy ending to this story, but the poor baby just rotted back in The Compost Woods.
We have a small square of dirt on the side front of our house that I like to call Chicky's Garden after the garden in How to Make an American Quilt. Every year, I like to mix up the things I plant in there. Sometimes I put in some mums, sometimes dahlias and zinnias, sometimes daisys, and once I put in a packet of wildflowers. I never know what I'm going to do, but it's always something to look froward too. I love a mix of colors there and I like it thickly packed with flowers. I've just started working there since it's been so cool this spring and I have still have a lot to do, but I'm looking forward to this summer like every other. We have one new addition this year, a tomato plant that I'm calling Leroy (from Fame). My son is especially thrilled about taking care of him.
Last year I had dahlias and zinnias in various colors in Chicky's Garden and was excited to notice another one sprouting up this year. Unfortunately, my husband was overzealously applying weed killer to the yard and doused the poor fellow even when I specifically asked for him to be in a No Spray Zone. I guess the appeal of weed killer is something that I don't understand, but apparently it makes you lose all your thoughts in the pursuit of weeds and death. I prefer to be old school and pull them out by hand.
I am not going to give up on this napalmed plant. I plan to cut back his poisoned limbs and nurse him back to health. Today I wanted to dedicate the last two lines of the first stanza of Maya Angelou's poem Still I Rise to him.
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
He is yet unamed, so I'm looking for some suggestions.
I don't really think I have a green thumb, but I love plants and flowers. I like knowing that I helped make something grow. I like showing my kids where their food comes from and even if I'm off to a small start this year, I hope to have more to show for it here in the coming months!