When the seasons changed around here and summer announced itself by its longer days and warm light and pungent earth smells, I ran to the nurseries like so many of my neighbors and bought some hanging flowers.
I was starved for color and the spring blooms popping up on porches and decks planted their seeds in my winter brain and sent me on my own summer migration.
I bought three beautiful hanging baskets of petunias and stopped at the hardware store in town and bought hooks which I screwed in to the wood of my porch and hung the three lush and lovely colorful plants.
I bought a cute little watering can and some Miracle Gro. I was ready to turn my black thumb green. These plants were going to live and thrive dammit.
Sadly, my determination was to no avail. My porch faces east and is shaded by tall beautiful oak trees. I actually love the shade for the temperature, my house usually stays cool and comfortable on all but the hottest days, but it doesn’t help with plants that need a lot of sunlight.
Petunias happen to be in that category. All my care and regular watering did nothing. Those 3 plants died quickly; one day I looked at my porch and saw three dead plants swaying in the gentle breeze.
I thought briefly of Morticia from the Addams Family who cut off the roses and arranged the thorny stems artfully in a vase. That was what was going on here.
I took down the corpses and returned them to the earth from whence they came. RIP Petunias.
I was discouraged and angry; like I could force a plant to bloom because I wanted it to. Talk about hubris.
I came around and thought ok time for Round Two. This time I went to a little nursery I found right outside Arlington. I met Meg a young woman with an affable Boxer mix and we had a discussion about what plants grow well in the shade. She steered me to a beautiful begonia and a trailing vinelike plant whose name I don’t know but I loved because it looked graceful to me.
That was in mid June I and I am happy to report that these two are thriving. Viney (yes that’s her name) even presented me with a bloom yesterday. I thanked her profusely for the gift. It was a little redemption from the Great Plant Massacre that occurred not too long ago.
I was so encouraged by this that I had Ray the handyman come around and dig out the front for a flowerbed. I haven’t planted anything yet because I’m doing my due diligence as far as planning and research.
For instance, I noticed that when it rains, the water runs off the roof right onto the middle of my new flowerbed. Something to consider when I decide what goes in there.
But there is time. It is August and I’m thinking about bulbs that’ll bloom next spring.
Life happens at its own pace most of the time and I’ve learned that sometimes it’s a good idea to sit back and watch the grass grow.