I come from a long line of green thumbed people. Both sets of my grandparents had large vegetable gardens. My paternal grandmother always had multiple varieties of African Violets decorating her living room and even grew rare Lady’s-slipper orchids outside her front door. Gosh, I wish I could be like them. Unlike my talented relatives, my knack for growing things is limited to sweet potato vine and daylilies.
Regardless, I revel in this time of year. April is the month that farmers’ markets start sprouting up all over town, and herb festivals and home and garden shows fill our weekends. The flats of colorful flowers call to me and I simply can’t resist. In turn, my husband gets equally excited and starts sharpening the lawn mower blades and buying extra line for the grass trimmer.
One of my favorite things to do is “pretend” that I can grow things. Usually this involves throwing on a Vegan-approved cotton shirt, Birkenstocks and floppy hat, and casually walking through the streets of the afore mentioned herb festival and conversing with the farmers about their leafy goodies. I know some gardening lingo and have the most wonderful time delving into subjects on composting and natural fertilizers.
The farmers then pack up an assortment of their young, nurtured seedlings and hand them over to me, not realizing their green babies are on their way to death row. Once home, the exhaustion from the day sets in and the plants stay on my patio table rather than in the rich, fluffy potting soil resting in bags, also on the patio table. Sadly, the “I’ll plant tomorrow” thoughts run through my head as I run off to another herb festival.
If for some reason the plants make it into the soil and I actually remember to water them, I watch with anticipation for the strawberries, tomatoes and cantaloupes to emerge. Typically, the plants bloom but bear no fruit or the birds gobble up the one-and-only miniature melon.
Over the years I have learned to keep things simple and have achieved a respectable looking flower bed containing mostly perennials. But I still can’t hold myself back when it comes to buying a garden full of tomato plants and herbs. I expect to harvest a $70 tomato and $30 bunch of dill, but I am forever optimistic. My daylilies are already pushing up through the ground to give me hope that this year will be different.