Almost three years ago, my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told him that I wanted a gift card to Lowe’s. He thought it was odd, but he did get the gift because even when he thinks I’ve totally lost it, he still loves me. I had planned to use it as seed money (pun intended) to give my garden a jump start.
Well, it was a good idea, but it never took root. My mother’s Alzheimer Disease had begun with the beginning of the end, and our family blossomed with three new members over the course of that year: two grandchildren, and a much beloved son-in-love. It was somewhere around October when I recalled that I had been going to start a garden in the spring.
For a month or more, I practiced digging and planting some rather old seeds in the garden of some nearby friends. It had overgrown, and it took quite some time to work the soil and get the seeds in even though I had enlisted a young friend with a certificate in horticulture to help me. It was not a bouquet of roses. Partly through neglect, but mainly because the soil was poor, our yield was minuscule. I still had some pots of herbs around my doorstep, and used them often in my cooking until a horde of kittens decided that they made a nice place to curl up and sleep. The sage was the only one that survived.
In 2010 someone introduced me to square foot gardening. It sounded doable, but other cares choked that out before the venture was well begun. I decided that I would dig in the next spring. The thorns in the spring of 2011 again defeated my good intentions.
Happily, Florida has three growing seasons, and I had planted my gift card in a safe place that I remembered. Today it looked at me hopefully when I took it out of the safe place, and it was not disappointed. I took it to Lowe’s and, in the interest of not digging in too deeply all at once, got some hanging pots with which I hope to confound any kittens looking for a place to nap. I have the herb seeds, all I wanted except for thyme, and I have dirt. Maybe I should plant some catnip some distance away from the house.
One of the nicest things about a garden is that it is merciful: each year is a new beginning. What kinds of experience have you had gardening? Do you have any suggestions or advice?