Russell Sprout was our gardener, and I put in a garden for many years just for him. He loved visiting the plants, encouraging and admiring them. He took credit for all our successes as we harvested grapes, tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers. He spent a lot of time in the back yard, ministering to the plants there, and since he died a few months ago, I wasn’t sure if I would put in a garden this year.
I finally decided that I must follow in his lead and take over in his gardening role. Because our growing season is so short here, I bought plants rather than planting seeds. Just as the garden is in full swing, we usually have our first frost, so I’m trying to hedge my bets this way.
Mother’s Day is usually the time when we can expect the weather to be frost free, but we were in a cold snap for Mother’s Day this year and it was too cool to plant anything. We were traveling the week after, so the garden waited until almost the end of May.
As I prepared the soil, I thought of years past when my oldest and youngest daughters helped me set out my garden. Their labor in the garden was a Mother’s Day gift more than once. This year, they are grown and gone, and the dogs were the only ones there to assist me.
They were excited to get into the raised bed, which is normally off-limits. When I began digging in the soil, they quite enthusiastically joined in! When it came time to plant the various vegetables and flowers, though, they seemed a bit confused. They lined up on the porch and simply watched me plant them, looking like they wondered why I would put anything in, when they were sure I must dig it all out!
Our cat, Nami, came out and checked out the catnip which is going strong already, much to her delight. She also gave the new plants the once-over.
I’m an animal person, not a plant person, and gardening is not my favorite thing to do. Yet every year the hope and expectation that comes with spring sucks me into the plant nurseries. It’s a time when everything seems possible. The hail storms and early frosts seem so far away that I can kid myself that they won’t happen this year. And sometimes they don’t. One year, I put in my garden twice due to the hail storms that ravaged the first plants I put out. And yet, the hope that a garden represents always returns. It always feels like everything is possible and that this is the year that we will have bushels of fine organic vegetables to eat, although it’s usually quite a bit less than that.
I’ve been seeding a few ideas of my own, hoping that they also grow and bear fruit. Spring in my life is also a time when everything seems possible. I have high hopes!