My brothers sometimes tell of the year one of them gave me a cactus for Christmas because all the other plants I'd ever tended had died. Surely, I couldn't kill a cactus.
Years ago, I had a roommate with a green thumb who decorated our tiny apartment with plants and flowers. She went on a one-week vacation to Hawaii, leaving me with detailed instructions on how to care for the plants and flowers - exactly how much water to give and how often, even singing suggestions!
By the end of the week, they were brown and wilting even though I followed her instructions to a tee.
A couple years ago, my boss's wife brought a plant to the office as an apology for a fight they had. My coworker and I knew we'd be the ones caring for the plant and neither of us were happy about it. She's about as good with plants as myself. So, we neglected it. For months. It sat on the lobby bookshelf becoming progressively uglier and uglier until it was a brown, wilted stalk with shriveled up leaves.
Then someone (probably my boss's wife) put it in my office. My office is in the kitchen (let's just leave it at that) and has a sink, so maybe she had watered the plant and forgot to put it back on the bookshelf. No matter the reason, the plant was in my office and there it stayed. For weeks I tried to ignore it, but I can't just sit there and watch a living thing slowly die, so I started putting a bit of water in it before leaving. Just an evening here, an evening there.
It started to get green. Little shoots started pushing up through the dirt. I knew it needed sunlight, but I worried that if I moved it back to the lobby, I'd neglect it again, so I left it in my office awhile longer. As it got bigger and greener and prettier, I started to feel a sense of pride at having resuscitated it. I finally felt comfortable moving it to the lobby and from there, getting daily doses of sunlight, the plant has really flourished. Even my coworker has gotten into keeping it healthy and will water it when I'm out of the office.
This last experience gave me a little confidence and I finally decided to do something I've wanted to do for a long time. I created a garden!
Even as a kid I didn't garden. My allergies were so bad growing up that time spent outdoors was filled with sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and lots of complaining. So, while the rest of my family tended the garden, I cleaned the house. Hence, I have no knowledge of gardening.
My sister-in-law went with me to the local plant nursery because I didn't feel confident enough to pick out my own plants. I knew what I wanted, but wasn't sure how to get what I wanted. One thing I knew; I didn't want to grow anything from seeds - I wanted baby plants.
The next evening, I gathered all my supplies on to my beloved patio; plants, pots (one I've had for years thanks to my stepmother who gave me a pot of flowers one year - they died in a couple months and the pot has stood barren ever since), potting soil, Miracle Grow, watering can, scissors, and a spoon (for digging - it was the best I could come up with). I loved the feel of dirt beneath my nails (though afterward I scrubbed them spotless), the smell of earth, the flow of water from my watering can onto the freshly planted plants, and the well-being that came with doing something so...refreshing.
In the big pot, I planted one cherry tomato, one grape tomato, and one yellow sweet pepper. The middle pot contains cilantro (yummy!) and to its right are chives. I would have liked to plant more herbs, maybe parsley, rosemary, and dill, but they didn't have those herbs when we went. Maybe it's better to start off small anyway. I can always get more plants!
Now my beloved patio is even more special, a true bit of heaven-on-earth. I can't wait to start eating tomatoes and peppers from my garden and using fresh herbs picked right from my porch!
Sigh. Life is good.