On the Origin of this Human as Gardener Species

14 Jun

Hydrangea Macrophylla

As the summer takes on full steam and the garden thrives, I find myself consumed by plants. Every waking minute I am either thinking about plants, reading about plants, or noticing other’s plants wherever I go. It’s a healthy obsession, and a few days ago my thoughts wandered to the origins of my gardening.

It seems like several lifetimes ago when the people I lived with and I decided to fix up the backyard that came with the apartment we rented. During the cleanout process we stumbled upon some wooden sticks protruding from the ground. Only a handful of yellowed to brown leaves remained on the sticks.

A voice that was mine but that I did not recognize said “let’s save it”. The people I lived with insisted it was dead. “Don’t bother.” I stuck to my guns and we did not remove the unsightly sticks.

It was not the best time in my life, in fact, it was the worst, but something happened while I lavished the plant with my attention and affection. It whispered thoughts of resilience, hope, transformation, growth. Thoughts that lingered in my unconscious.

Fun fact: the color of the flowers are influenced by the type of soil they grow in. Blue when grown in acidic soil, pink when in alkaline soil.

Some years later I now look back to that plant, who grew from bare burnt stems to beautiful blue blooms with adoration. I too have bloomed since then, have transformed, have discovered my own resilience, my own growth.

Earlier this week I walked in Lowes to buy some wire (for tomato cages, weekend project!) I came upon the same plant in the distressed section. Although I never shop for plants in big box stores (I grow organic) I couldn’t help it. Here she was again, in need. She who helped me grow, who introduced me to gardening, who taught me to believe in myself, here she was again beckoning for help.

And here she is in my garden. The brown leaves pruned, the overgrown bare stems cut back, after some serious watering, and much love, she now stands tall and beautiful, singing the same songs of hope, resilience, and faith. Today they aren’t thoughts for burying. Today I sing with her, as we share the same lyrics.

Hello, old friend, teacher, inspiration…


7 Responses to “On the Origin of this Human as Gardener Species”

  1. babso2you June 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Absolutely love post! And what a lovely flower too! Thank you for signing up to follow my blog! I hope that you will find it entertaining! Barb 🙂

  2. occamsays June 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Beautifully written…lovely story and photos. May your song continue.

  3. Susie Beesley June 16, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    Your blog is lovely – great photographs and prose – it’s fascinating to see people around the globe who are as passionate about growing as I am. You are so right, gardening gets under your skin and becomes an obsession. Thanks for following!

    • michellethegrower June 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      Thank you! There’s something about gardening that transforms us… like an invasive mint that takes over our minds! 🙂

  4. Rhianna June 16, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    Several years ago I spied some really sad, crispy looking rose bushes on the $1 cart at that very same big box store. I am pretty sure that the cashier thought I was dumbly throwing down my cash for dead plants. I planted them, and the next year they came back as the lushest, most vibrant rose bushes, never hinting of their near-death, bargain past. Nothing generous compost and TLC couldn’t remedy. Which is a life lesson in several ways, I suppose. 🙂

    (P.S. Here from The Other Baby Book where I also blog…)

    • michellethegrower June 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      So true! Even at the edge of death, a little loving goes a long way! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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