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Lessons from the garden

BY LYN HESTER Published: May 3, 2012
It’s spring and things are starting to bloom. I love flowers and admire anyone who can grow them; however, I’m not one of them. The only plant life I can successfully cultivate grows into my sewer line and clogs it up.

When my son used to wear a flower to church on Mother’s Day he wore a dandelion, because it’s the only thing that blooms in my yard.

My mother, Bonnie Fite, was a genius in the garden. In fact, I have seen her grow an entire tree from a seed in a jelly glass in less than a week. She could grow a squash large enough to feed a family of eight for two years.

But because my mother was such a wonder gardener, I felt I didn’t need to know anything. She would give me a plant and tell me where to plant it. I, in turn, would put the leafy side up and the dirt side down, pour some water over it and step back.

Indoor plants followed a similar regime. Mother would give me a plant, I would kill it, and she would replace it. This seemed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement as mother got rid of her overabundance of plants and I practiced survival of the fittest.

Seeing live plants around me I acquired a false sense of security and decided to landscape my back yard. I soon found out that planting a garden was like joining the Army, it wasn’t a job, it was a career.

My first effort was a Hollyhock. I had seen these in my mother’s yard and had admired their large, colorful blossoms and tall stature. I bought half a dozen of the little plants and headed home to my yard – the last deposit of solid limestone in this part of the state.

I soon found that my Hollyhocks had a unique talent – they were barometers. In high winds they fell over and broke off at the ground and in heavy rains they lost their blooms altogether.

It was then that I realized like most mentally unstable gardeners, that I needed some professional help, so I called a local nursery.

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