Thursday, February 07, 2008


Don't you think "forcing" a bloom sounds harsh? Gardening is full of this kind of thing: Dividing, Dead-heading, Grafting, Cutting, Hardening Off, Staking, Pruning... So violent! I don't normally get involved in this pastime but...

There was one spring when someone offered me some free plant-life if I would come over to her house and dig it up. I did, and I placed it all in the little flower beds that the husband had created for me (in a spirit of naive hope that I might have a flash of organic energy and plant something), and the stuff began to grow.

The plants, though, didn't look like they did in my neighbor's yard.
They were much larger.
Much, much larger.
Over-my-head taller.
I-love-you-this-much wider.

I thought I might have gaps between the flowers that I'd need to fill in. There were no gaps. I had tossed a tomato plant in there on impulse (everything was growing so well), and it became alarmingly full and green almost instantly, with huge red softball-sized tomatoes popping out everywhere.

Once I got over the shock of it, I was thrilled! People came by and commented, "How in the world do you get your irises so tall??" They'd lament about their own scraggly gardens and I'd nod sympathetically. Apparently they just didn't have the touch. I'd never kept a houseplant alive for more than three weeks in my life and here I was the Green Giant of Webberville practically overnight.

Then my mom came by and made a casual observation about the placement of this garden. See nothing much was growing anywhere else on our property. Our lawn, one of those hydro-seeding deals from a year past, had only sprouted a few strands of grass here and looked sort of like a bad hair plug job.... The soil in between the little three-blade sprouts of grass was cobbly and dry...

All except for this perfectly shaped rectangle of lush green grass growing on the southwest side of the house. And at the end of the rectangle, my bountiful flower garden.

Ah, the septic field.

"Are you EATING those tomatoes?" she asked doubtfully.

My garden suddenly looked sort of steamy. The over-sized black-eyed Susans nodded threateningly...The dense hydrangea rustled ominously...I had my own Little Shop of Horrors and the tomato plant was leering at me...

I backed into the house slowly then and now only emerge in the spring once to ceremoniously place a hanging basket of flowers on the porch. It is my gesture, my humble nod to all things green and living. That is, unfortunately, the last time the poor plant will be alive to see me.

To gardeners everywhere, I bow in deference.


Joann said...

haha!! Hey, I want to put in a veggie garden this spring. Maybe I should find out exactly where our septic field is, eh? Hadn't thought of that before! :)

Molly said...

Hahaha, that's funny! Did you guys eat the veggies?

Kulio said...

We were eating the tomatoes until my mom said something....after that,

cjs said...

now THAT is funny! you should just ship them to's not like he'd mind!

riahbell said...

thats amazing.

cjs said...

looking for you tonight.

but you're not here.

looking forward to your next post.