Reading the whimsical picture book, When Ruby Tried to Grow Candy by Valorie Fisher, to my younger son recently, I found a delightful depiction of my philosophy of gardening: Plant what you love!
Just a few weeks ago, my garden was sleeping. My friend, who lives in a high rise, asked to see it, but I apologetically told her nothing was blooming . . . yet. She sighed and said, “You’re lucky you have a little yard to play with flowers.” I’ve been repeating that sentence in my head, reminding myself to be grateful for my “bit of earth,” as Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden called it.
Now, almost every plant in my yard has awoken! I suppose I should have noticed the signs, but spring came suddenly this year, a beautiful surprise! The gardener within me has been dormant all winter, but she, too, has leaped from her slumber with renewed energy. It is officially gardening season!
I once saw a sign at a nursery that read: “Garden! There’s magic in the dirt!” If there is any truth in that, I’ve been covered in magic lately. I think I’m well on my way to becoming the eccentric gardening neighbor in the Ruby book! Every chance I get, I’m outside peering at tiny growing things. I slip on my gardening gloves, and it is as if I don a superhero costume. Instantly, I’m impervious to grubs, worms, spiders, and even the occasional snake. Neighbors walk by, and I wave at them with a mud-crusted, pink-gloved hand. I smile sheepishly as I become suddenly conscious of my grass-flecked jeans with muddy knees. Then, I quickly get back to digging holes, amending the soil, and tucking in pretty petal bearers.
In Ruby, she and her neighbor plant tea cups, candy, and even a ball. They grow more of what they love! Of course, when you’re gardening in our world, it helps if what you love is actually a plant. I feel blessed to live in Texas because we have such a wide range of plants that flourish here (from peonies to palm trees)! My gardening advice is to research what plants grow where you live. Then, from the available options, plant only the ones that send you, that make you happy just to look at them. Make sure to give them shade if they need it, or full sun if they need that. Otherwise, they’ll languish. And . . . don’t forget to water. Soon, you’ll have a garden full of candy-colored blooms to sweeten your days. 😉 Happy gardening!
P.S. A wonderful book full of plants (with pictures!) that grow well in Texas is Easy Gardens for North Central Texas by Steve Huddleston and Pamela Crawford. Another resource for Texas gardeners is the “Monthly Blooms” section of this blog. 🙂