Spring has sprung early everywhere, but especially in Minnesota where it has caught me with a backlog of "down south" stories still to be told, before I can even start on planning and planting up here...
...There is that moment, somewhere in your forties usually, where you catch sight of your mother in a shop window reflection, maybe a photo and then you realize, oh, that's me. Sometimes it's when you catch yourself repeating some familiar saying of hers, at other times it's a certain expression set on your increasingly lined face.
It's way before her time, but watching (and guiding) my daughter create her first garden was like a backward progression of this phenomenon.
It all started last year at the GWA conference when she accompanied me there on our way to visit her brother at his new school. As a budding food writer she found lots of helpful info and parallels at this garden writers gathering. And to my surprise she was right up there when they were handing out the sample plants.
So last fall I helped her plant up a large pot with all her swag, the centerpiece being the cute new Colocasia Bikini-Tini elephant ears. I gave her my sample as well since she's in zone 8. Lucky gal.
The adorable elephant ears are thriving in her mild climate in Savannah, although I had to scold her for letting them dry out and water them a few times for her this winter when she got busy. Though I will admit, part of her being busy was my extended stay, which necessitated many trips to Tybee Island, countless cooking experiments, forays for cupcakes at our favorite bakery and general larking around. It's a wonder she's getting her thesis done and that I finished several articles while I was there.
One of our expeditions took us to Herb Creek Nursery in nearby Sandfly where I took a few surreptitious shots of their gorgeous succulents to complete my upcoming article in Northern Gardener. She fell hard for the succulents and before I knew it we were trekking around finding inexpensive containers for all of them.
She learned some hard realities of container gardening; potting soil costs money and so do pots. I told her to keep an eye out for other items that could be re-purposed for pots. The next day at Target she did one of those SNL-style "Tuurrrget Lady" turns when she spied the cheap enamel Easter tins and said will these work? Next she was onto galvanized buckets at Home Depot.
She got our her handy-dandy drill to make holes for drainage and started planting. Soon we were back to the nursery for herbs. After all you can only purchase so much thyme at the grocery store for her favorite Ina Garten chicken recipes before it gets ridiculous.
Such a sight in her pink apron and red wellies, bent over a pot with her hands all dirty, a new gardener is born, following many generations before her. Her grandmother's Bakelite bracelets clicking on her wrist as she wrestled those succulents into the soil made me want to cry.
I always assumed she would start gardening, but not this soon. Now our phone calls include her pressing plant issues along with Savannah gossip and cooking questions.
It all gives me hope. Does this mean there's a possibility my son might feel the need to plant something, someday too?