Mom had a green thumb. No, more like green hands. I didn’t realize this until we moved from a rental house with little yard to our own home with a back yard. Mom was in heaven. She wanted nothing more than to spend time in her garden. She enjoyed digging, fertilizing, planting, weeding, tending, cutting flowers, growing vegetables, and especially loved her roses. Dinner preparation was often a rush, rush, thing because she had lost track of time working in her garden and I had come out to tell her that my dad had just called and he was on his way home. He worked just a few miles from the house.
Mom loved anything that grew but roses were her specialty. The walkway to the front door had 2 tree roses on each side. One rose tree was a gift from me and my dad the first Mother’s Day we were there in 1955, and it is still there living happily with the new owner. Mom especially loved her Peace rose which is a delicate peach color with pink tips. Her Mr. Lincoln was red, the Sterling Silver was lavender, Just Joey bloomed beautifully, and there were many others she knew by name as, over time, she bought or was given more and more roses.
In the back yard there were zucchini, parsley, and tomatoes, and prolific lemon and orange trees. Mom just planted: sun plants in the shade, shade plants in the sun, small plants behind large plants. They all did well. She had the magic touch. Once there was an article in the paper saying that coffee grounds were good for the roses and from then on, until she just couldn’t get out to her garden any more, each pot of coffee was made and the grounds, often still hot from brewing, were carefully carried in the brew basket from the kitchen, through the dining room, living room, down the porch steps, and emptied around a rose bush. Pesticides were rarely used. Tomato worms (ugly, nasty, crawling green things) were carefully picked off by hand, weeds growing around bricks or yard edging were bathed in salt and hot water to kill them, and snails were mostly picked by hand and put in the trash, although she did go through a few boxes of Snarol when the hand picking didn’t work.
I didn’t inherit mom’s green thumb. I enjoy a nice-looking yard and I have a bit of a garden and many fruit trees. To me it is a household task, just like laundry or washing windows. And, I think the plants know it. Do they have intuition? “Hey, this gal isn’t a fan of working with us and since she doesn’t think to give us food regularly or keep us trimmed there is no reason why we should bloom our hearts out for her”. Can you relate? We are blessed with a great gardener and if I leave a plant in a pot where I want it to be planted he will dig the hole and plant it for me. Isn’t that nice?
Here and there things get trimmed or given special food. I get a bag of Epsom salts each year and carefully dump a ¼ cup around each rose bush or toss it toward roses I cannot get close to due to shrubbery in the way. My roses all once looked very good and I would cut them and bring them into the house. The drought has taken its toll though. A few front yard bushes and trees of cluster white roses get some trimming, but the backyard roses suffer greatly. Right now, there is some type of ground cover that is about to take over some of the roses. It needs to be dug up. I’ll email the gardener about that.
How is your green thumb? If you wish you had a garden but don’t have a garden maybe we can make a deal.
Every Day Is A Good Day. VJ