I haven't lived in a house with a garden to play in since I moved out of my parents house. My mom used to "make us" help her in the garden, but I never really saw it as a chore. I loved getting my hands dirty, reshaping the mounts of dirt to hold new colors and life. My favorite part was watching something I helped plant grow big and healthy, and then eat it! My mom grows all kinds of things. Me, I grow plants. House plants. I have slowly learned how to really take care of my leafy "pets" over the years, as apparently I am not blessed with the green thumb of my mother which allows her to grow the most amazingly prolific plants. A neighbor once brought over an aloe plant that she had almost killed. When next I took notice of the plant, green aloe fronds were dripping over the edge in self-proclaimed virility. The plant was massive! I asked my mom her secret and she said she just put it under her antique Singer sewing machine and ignored it. "Too much attention, that's what kills plants," she told me. But I remember her talking to her plants, and there was always music on in the house. Maybe that was the magical element keeping her leaves so green.
I name my plants. I talk to them and assure them they are loved. I haven't killed one in years. When I pot baby plants from a spider or philodendron, I encourage the new parent to give a name (I'm more than willing to help pick a name: Franco's first plant was PJ, the first pawned-off progeny of my beloved Phil(odendron)). Who said puns were dead? Who??
I have grand plans to build a little tarp shelter on the balcony and grow herbs and tomatoes and peppers, but I have some waitin' to do. . .I don't really have regular access to that space as of yet. Point of all this. . .I miss gardening and playing with dirt and smelling that perfect smell of organic matter and worm breath, released when your hands get at least wrist deep in the earth.
I used to landscape every summer so I got my fix that way. I didn't seem to matter that I toiled all day in other people's gardens. In fact, I feel fortunate because I'm pretty damn sure I'll never be able to afford gardens and yards like some of those people have!
So today, Franco and I dug in. He moved to this great place on a canyon with a backyard and some rose bushes and other random plants gone to seed. (Puns are not dead). We dug holes and filled pots and carefully moved miscreant plants from one place to another. It was a lovely day in the shadow-slanted sunshine. Getting our hands in the dirt, thinking about what we can plant that we can watch grow together, and harvest to give us nourishment. Heh. Metaphorical.
On the note of growth and nourishment, Happy Father's Day to my Dad, who has played such an enormous role in my own. I love you.