Spring Fever

Every spring I fall victim to a strange malady, a consuming disease that arrives with the first hint of balmy weather. When the temperatures start creeping toward the upper 60s, at spring’s first gentle nip in the air, my fingers start itching and my feet head of their own accord toward the gardening section of the nearest store.

I’m a plant-a-holic. I confess. I see seeds, smell peat moss and green growing things and I have this uncontrollable urge to plunge my fingers into moist dirt and will plants to sprout and grow. I can spend hours strolling the aisles looking up exotic blooms and foliage, reading directions and attempting to ascertain if a certain plant is right for my locale.

There’s only two problems: one, most of the plants I relish don’t belong in my climate zone; and two, I don’t have a green thumb.

It’s become something of a joke in my family, how quickly will I manage to kill this year’s collection of specimens. Once, I tried talking my husband into letting me stop at Lowe’s before we went grocery shopping. His response, “So now you’re trying to kill the plants before we even get them home?” Sigh.

I can’t help myself. I see colourful blooms and want them in my garden the way some women want shoes or purses or fabric. I collect seed packets the way some women collect recipes. The more exotic the bloom, the more I have to try to coax it to thrive in my yard. Unfortunately my yard has several severe handicaps against anything green growing there. West Texas red sand, West Texas 120 degree heat in the summer (and the house faces west), West Texas lack of rainfall. Plants do not thrive on well water alone.

But I’m an eternal optimist. Every year I try something new. I have coaxed columbine, oriental poppies, Chinese stone crop, Peruvian lilies, and of course, roses to put forth blooms and add beauty to an otherwise drab yard. One day, I will have time, money, and the sufficient varieties to have a real garden. In the meantime, I try one species after another in planters, hoping to find the right combination of plant, water, and sun.

My one huge failure is also my one incentive that keeps me trying year after hopeless year. Ten years ago I set out a sapling, no bigger around than my thumb. It was a tree species guaranteed to thrive in West Texas conditions. It’s still no bigger than my thumb; but last year during the drought it had more leaves than ever, even though I gave up watering it years ago. It comes back every year in spite of overwhelming obstacles. How can I give up on any dream, any hope, any vision?

One day I’ll have my garden: cool, green, with prismatic colours, a refuge from the West Texas heat.


Posted on 2014/04/05, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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