Every year my plants come out of hibernation when the sun begins to peak with a warmth we know will turn the world green. After months of cold and dreariness I always look forward to spring because that leads to summer. My favorite time. With chill still in the morning air, and much anticipation I check my outdoor plants daily. Do my hydrangeas have blossoms? Nope, not yet. Is my butterfly bush getting taller? Nope, not yet. Are there blossoms on my peach tree? Soon.
At long last there will come a day that I’ll see the tiniest of buds on something – anything. It doesn’t take much to get me excited. With a thrill that never fades, I run to find my son to tell him my plants are budding! Each year I get the same response, with a slight grin on his face he’ll say, “Mom, we go through this every year. They bloom EVERY YEAR.” Funny how the excitement never dies for me. The colors never dull. The new buds never cease to put a smile on my face. I know the darkness is leaving, the days lengthening, life is anew and I have a fresh spirit.
I got my love of plants and gardening from my dad. One of the best gifts he ever gave me. I used to think it was annoying when I was young to hold the bag open for him as he pruned for what seemed like hours on end and filled the bag I was holding with the clippings. I didn’t understand why he endured such work in such heat. Now I know. It wasn’t work. He was calming his soul, creating a heaven in his mind and in our yard for us and others to enjoy, and spending time with me. I remember one time he went to the nursery and didn’t take me. When he got home he told me he had a surprise for me. I asked him what it was and he said it was something I’d been wanting for a long time. He had bought me my own green watering can. I was super excited. Some of the greatest gifts in life we don’t recognize until later.
When I was a child and my dad went overseas, he would always ask me to be sure to water the plants and keep them alive. I’m sure we lost many plants. I didn’t do a very good job. I didn’t understand how much care they needed and often forgot them. I still feel bad for that. I let him down when he counted on me. Now when I pull in the driveway from work, I can’t get in the house without checking out all the plants, seeing what needs water and pulling some weeds. Jamie used to come out to check on me to see why I never made it from the car to the front door. Now he knows and doesn’t bother to check.
I don’t just have plants. I have important plants. Important to me at least. Most of them are linked to my family which is what makes them so special. They all have a story. I have my mom and dad’s lilies, multiple colors and varieties. I have a piece of my grandmother’s Christmas cactus that broke off and my mom stuck in some dirt while moving and in a rush. It took root and is growing. It must be more than 50 years old. At my previous house I had two peppermint crepe myrtle trees my dad brought and planted on either side of my driveway. I miss those trees. I didn’t get to see them grow up. Their blossoms were red and white striped like peppermint candy. I’ve never seen another one like them. Many of my house plants have been give to me by Jamie as gifts. I have my Mom and Dad’s key lime tree in a pot so heavy Jamie has to carry it in and out each season, along with their Plumeria that blooms beautiful aromatic yellow in the summer. My Mother-in-Laws tongue my mom gave me is so tall I am struggling to keep it upright. I even have an indoor lemon tree I purchased in the middle of one insomniatic (I know that’s not a word but when you live in the South its okay to make up words) night while I perused Amazon and suddenly remembered my credit card number. That probably wasn’t a good purchase. I’ve never gotten a lemon yet. I rescued a Shamrock from work that was on it’s last leg, transplanted and watered it and watched it bloom and thicken. One of my coworkers calls me “the plant whisperer”.
This year I’m enjoying my new iris bulbs and Japanese Maple tree that came in the mail. They were supposed to be for my birthday but my parents accidentally sent them early – for Mother’s Day instead. No complaints here! The Japanese Maple wasn’t in the best shape and I didn’t think it would make it but it’s out of shock now and doing well. My irises won’t bloom until next year. They are all rare varieties. I can’t wait to see them! I will think about them all winter while I impatiently wait. I’m enjoying trying to beat the birds to my blueberries. I think they ripen about every couple of hours so I pick them at least twice a day if I have time and take great satisfaction in it while the birds squawk in the trees nearby.
One day I’m going to have a sun room with lots of windows to let the air flow through. My sun room will be filled with all of these trees and plants. I can let them grow as tall as they want. In the middle of the room will be a swing. I’ll swing my days away with the breeze blowing through, reading a good book and feeling all the peaceful love and life around me. And I’ll think about the story, and the person, attached to each plant with a smile. It’ll be my jungle room.