I find myself talking to the tiny seeds as I drop them into the dirt. “Good luck little seeds” I whisper as I bury them in the cool earth, and I remind myself that I am made of this rich, damp stuff. “Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return” I mutter as I tamp down the little garden grave that will soon come to life, if the sun shines and the rain falls, and I tend it well.
Each plant I encounter today reminds me of someone – a friend, a colleague, a Toronto politician– a wild theatre of botanical personalities springs to life in my little back yard plot.
Roses.
Cursing under my breath I wince at the cruel red line the unmerciful thorns tear across my hands and arms. “You roses are sons of birches!” I cry. But then look at them – how their drowsy pink heads nod knowingly at me, filing the air with just a hint of the fragrance they hold in store for mid-June – how their laden branches hang almost motionless, innocent, awaiting their next victim. Roses are like some people: beautiful but nasty.
Dandelions.
You grow everywhere with complete confidence and without a thought for your future or anyone around you! Do you know that I hate you and I will rip you from your shallow home before you even have a chance to spread your ridiculous puffy seeds on my lawn? I am compelled to kill you as soon as I see you. My hatred is all-consuming and I pursue my killing with studied passion.
What’s wrong with me? Why such an urgent need to kill this happy little flower?
Clematis.
You are very fragile and difficult. You are so fussy about which part of you wants sun and which part needs cool. You look so dead in April, but suddenly in June you blossom like it’s nobody’s business. You seem frail, but all those tiny tentacles hang together and make something really strong.
I know some Clematis people. They require so much nurturing, and it may seem all is lost, but when they decide it’s their time to bloom, they put on a glorious show.
Maple keys.
They are everywhere. I know some people who are Maple keys. They cannot stop talking! Their words shower down like these seedpods and cover everything, but they rarely take root and start something new.
I’d better stop blogging before I turn into one of these…

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12 Responses to Gardening

  1. merryn says:

    i feel like a clematis (:

  2. Robert Padgett says:

    Where there is great beauty there is great danger.

  3. Emily says:

    Poetic prose! Such wonderful use of language – expression of imagery and emotion!
    Dandelions: I was immensely grateful to our friends for their willingness to spend and hour and a half hunting for, and digging up, dandelions and thistles with us on the glorious sunny Sunday of the May long weekend. We cleared almost all of them, their roots often frustratingly deep, from the large area from the road to our parking area at our Christie Beach place. The relief I felt was almost ridiculous!

    Thanks from a fellow gardener.

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      Yes. It seems to me that Dandelions are exceptional amongst weeds since their roots are so straight and deep and strong! Other weeds pull up quite effortlessly, but Dandelions hang on for dear life. This is a plant with a ferocious, lion spirit, and I think we can learn from them : )
      See you soon! Steph

  4. Lois Burkholder says:

    I had no idea you were creating such beautiful prose as we worked away in quiet companionship.

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      Lois, I owe you and Pax Christi Chorale a great debt, since you have introduced me to the secret joys of gardening. (And particularly the altos and their splendid crab apple tree which is doing very well.)
      I’m afraid the Solomon’s Purse is being overshadowed by those arrogant roses! Maybe you’ll help me remedy that situation? Yesterday I planted basil from seed so we’ll see how they do in full sun.
      See you soon : ) Steph

  5. Mary Gillmeister says:

    Well I know very little about the art (science?) of gardening, other than to walk in them and enjoy them, but I liked this post very much. I am going to have to decide which plant best represents me! Of course, given that I don’t know the names of anything, this should be fun. :)

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      Make your best guess Mary, and then I’ll show you the plant. They are all beautiful in their own way : )

  6. Joyce says:

    Oh Steph, how I love your post. I am sending you a Lee Valley catelogue so that you can arm yourself against thorny roses and pesky dandelions. Too bad there are no easy solutions with difficult *people*.
    Rose gloves: http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=65392&cat=2,42407,33246
    Extendible Lopper: http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=58931&cat=2,42706,40720&ap=1
    Water-powered dandelion remover: http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=10418&cat=2,2160,40706

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