When I was a little tike, my father would force me to garden. I hated it, basically because it kept me from doing all the things little kids like to do—play the piano, hide in my closet and create colorful art on my Litebrite, collect wildflowers, and sing on the berm of the interstate at the top of my lungs so no one would hear me.
As I grew up, every flower, every plant, every garden I ever tried to grow died unsuccessfully. I considered myself a black thumb.
My father passed on about 11 years ago of pancreatic cancer. Before he died, he said to me, “So now it’s your turn to take care of your sisters and your mother.” I felt like he was passing down some sort of mantel. It felt heavy and I didn’t want it. I was the one who travelled anywhere anytime, never had a steady job, loved being completely free of responsibility. He had it wrong. This was not going to be my destiny.
But there is something about a Father’s last wish—it tends to stick in your crawl! Suddenly, everyone was coming to me with her problems and needs. And I, for some reason, had gleaned the know-how to help all of them. I actually enjoyed it. Let’s call it… co-dependency kicking in.
Something else happened during all of this. I spent 7 years with a florist and through osmosis, I guess, I learned the what and what-nots to do with flowers and gardens.
So, when I moved into my own house, I suddenly possessed my father’s green thumb. Everything I touched grew. I even stunned myself. Right now I’m looking at two orchids that are blooming so beautifully on my sideboard. Everyone knows how hard it is to get an orchid to bloom, and yet, alas, they bloomed with no effort at all.
If you haven’t looked at my pictures on here, they are full of amazing flowers from my five gardens. I spend, sometimes, hours gardening each day. My sisters call me. I tell them I am out in the garden. They are generally stunned. They think that my dad, whom I never got along with when he was alive, is back haunting my body. I think they might be right.
Why am I so interested in flowers and pretty things now?
My first garden was herbs. I was a vegetarian chef. I thought, grow herbs! You can, at least, put your mind to doing that. I actually was successful at doing that. That’s how it all started. Then my mother moved in and encouraged me to add some color to a somewhat bland garden. From there, it was my dear friend Brenda Batey who gave me her 100 varieties of day lilies and my neighbor Karen who kept putting flowers starters on my doorstep every morning that made my gardens the way they are today. So, it was a little encouragement from the universe and friends; but, alas, I am now what most call a Green Thumb.
I embrace it fully. Ask me any question about flowers and I’ll be glad to tell you. The only thing black in this yard is the mulch!