Growing Wild

I tend to believe that gardening talent is a genetic trait, and I’m pretty sure I inherited the brown thumb gene from my mom. As a grade school teacher, she would often receive lovely plants as gifts from her students or co-workers. I’m sure she smiled brightly and thanked them when they presented these treasures. But at home, I would see her sigh sadly while looking at the leafy gifts. The poor plant-givers had no idea they were sending them off to death row.

Yesterday, I talked with Mom on the phone, and she admitted that there are “a lot of dead things” in her front yard garden (which has become quite beautiful, thanks to a green-thumbed friend who has intervened.) “No way!” I replied. “Dead things – in YOUR garden?”

I have had the same miserable track record as my mom when it comes to keeping plants alive. When I discovered I was pregnant with our first child 11 years ago, Ian found me outside one evening frantically planting flowers. He looked very confused. “I just want to prove to myself I can actually grow something without killing it,” I explained. Luckily I am much better at growing babies than flowers. In fact, Calvin is growing so tall now that I’m wondering if he may have soaked in some of the Miracle-Gro all those years ago.

Last week, our neighbor offered up a bunch of hostas. “You CANNOT kill hostas,” my friends insisted. “You can do this.” So my daughters and I got out shovels and gardening gloves and got to work. Clara looked great with muddy knees and her gymnastics leotard. Daisy just wanted to play with all the worms we unearthed.

As we got the last hosta into the ground, the gorgeous late-evening sunlight started spilling golden magic all over our lawn. The girls rolled around in the grass, chasing and tickling each other. Their smiles and laughs stopped my heart for a moment. I dropped the shovel and gloves and picked up my camera.

The next morning I realized we’d had so much fun we completely forgot to water our newly-transplanted greenery. But even if the hardy hostas prove everyone wrong and turn brown, I’ll be okay.

I have already seen the prettiest things I can imagine growing wild in our garden.

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