Dirty hands and dirty feet determined who I was in my childhood. No matter how hard my mother tried, she just couldn’t make a “lady” out of me. I was born with a free mind and it drove her crazy. I knew my parameters, but always pressed the envelope. I always went barefoot and could never find my shoes.
Gardening has been a lifesaver for me. I could get my hands in the dirt, get my feet dirty, carry dead worms in the pockets of my aprons. For those of you wondering what the hell an apron is, let me explain. They called it sleeveless dresses or summer dresses when I was a young girl.
My science teacher taught us how different chemicals in the soil can alter a plant. So I decided to experiment to see if it did. When I got home that afternoon, I took my father’s toolbox to the north side of the house, where my mother grew her precious blue hydrangeas. I took a couple of rusty nails and pounded them into the ground around the plants. This spring, instead of beautiful pink hydrangeas, she had beautiful blue hydrangeas. She never found out what happened to her pink flowers. I knew it, but I didn’t say it. The rust in the nails changed the acidity in the soil, which changed the color of the flowers.
Plants have always fascinated me. I told my dad one day that I was really tired of looking at the ugly wire fence that spanned the back of our property. He gave me a packet of seeds and told me they would turn the ugly fence into something beautiful. He was right. A few weeks after I planted, fertilized, and watered, the plants sprouted and formed a fence filled with beautiful blue winds. You’ve been a favorite of mine ever since. It really doesn’t take much to grow something beautiful or tasty. No special skills are required. Just pick a few seeds, dig the soil, add fertilizer, plant, water and wait. Waiting is probably the hardest part of the growing process.
A few years ago I decided to start my seeds early for my summer garden. I bought the seeds, the small starter cups, the soil, and the fertilizer. The gentleman even bought me a large baker’s refrigerated shelf on wheels. I rolled the cart out of the basement so the plants could get some fresh air and sunshine on the warmer days of early spring. Things went great. I planted, fertilized and watered them regularly. They rewarded me by sprouting and growing larger every day. Until one day something went terribly wrong. I rolled it to the warm, sunny spot in the driveway and watered it. I even took one of the spray bottles and splashed the tender leaves to encourage their growth. To my great surprise, the next day I had a whole cart of saplings with drooping heads. I couldn’t imagine what had happened to them. The next day they were more than limp, they had turned yellow and were obviously lying on their deathbed.
It was then that The Mr. discovered that I had sprayed them with the bottle, which instead of water contained the fabric shrink solution he used to upholster furniture. We threw away the entire cart with the seedlings and took a trip to the local garden center to buy our spring plantings. No more seeds this year!
I’m looking forward to my spring flowers this year. In fact, I started my new seedlings last week. You can bet I’ll carefully mark the contents of each spray bottle. I don’t want free spirited seedlings hanging their heads this year.