I have always hoped to be a serious gardener, and over the years have made not-very-serious efforts at it. During college and medical school I owned so many house plants that walking into my room felt like a botanical excursion, we grew the flowers from seed that we used at our wedding, and before we had children we kept a truly ambitious vegetable garden. Each seed catalog was studied and varieties surveyed, seedlings started in a sun room, each plant nurtured and protected, the harvest preserved with great care, shared and eaten with appreciation.
Then life happened. I’m not sure exactly what intervened but it had something to do with raising children, a demanding job, a full barn of four legged critters, and aging parents. Despite a move to a good size farm with an orchard, large garden spot and plenty of room for flower beds, I couldn’t muster the energy to do what needed to be done to create blooms. Flowers took a back seat in my mind and in my life, with only a few predictable bulbs and perennials showing up year after year.
But I’m the granddaughter of a woman who had a large greenhouse full of hanging fuschia baskets that she tended and sold, and the daughter of a woman who left no side of her house or fence line without a border of carefully planned and managed flower gardens. The colorful blooms have always called to me from the florist shops and gardening centers.
Yesterday, the siren call reached their peak and we came home with three hanging baskets in full bloom, created like a painting from a palette of tiny seedlings a few short months ago. I’ve known the young man who created these floral masterpieces since he was in kindergarten, having watched him grow up, get married and take over the family business. Now he is a botanical artist, something I have always aspired to, but have never achieved.
Someday I may be able to return to the nurturing of the soil, to make things beautiful and productive, feed my grandchildren’s souls and stomachs as I was fed as a child. But for now, I’m filled with gratitude for the loveliness I see hanging outside my windows. I’m simply blooming with happiness.