All winter long, we’ve let this small garden plot in front of our house just sit there, empty. Over time, the weeds went to town. Let’s just say that I was starting to get mildly embarrassed at the sight of tall dandelion-like weeds starkly standing out against the white walls of the front of our home.
A couple weeks ago, Andrew and I finally got around to getting rid of the miniature forest of spindly and unpleasant looking weeds. And for those couple weeks, that little plot of dirt sat and sat. It was crying out to me, plant something here! Something pretty and cheerful!
Now, let me tell you, I don’t consider myself a gardener. I wouldn’t say that I have a black thumb, but rather I have yet to have enough experience to find out if I’m a green thumb in the garden.
This past weekend, Andrew was kind enough to take me to the garden section at Home Depot and stand by as I hemmed and hawed by every single flower and small greenery there. Like I mentioned, I don’t have much experience in the garden. Don’t you just stick something in the ground, water it, and it’ll grow? Wait, are you saying I really have to look at the tag and find out what kind of sun exposure this plant can take? And how far to plant them away from each other?
Okay, I’m exaggerating. I knew about those things I just mentioned. But experience? I hardly have any of it.
After leaving with a very small fortune of flowers, herbs that I wanted to get started for this summer, some extra seeds, and a couple of watering cans, we arrived at home and unloaded the goods. The following day, Monday, I had the afternoon off. (Yes, I should’ve been studying for boards, but…) I then spent it planting flowers, planting two Romanian tomato plants that I’d sprouted, and ended it with some transferring and planting of the herbs that we had bought.
The flower garden out front looks cute yet a little sparse thus far. But hey, if I followed the tags and planted them at the proper widths, hopefully they’ll fill out in a couple months. As for the tomatoes, Andrew and I are tomato fiends–we just can’t get enough of fresh tomatoes. And the herbs? Ah, fresh herbs… When I go out to look at them, run my fingers along their leaves to catch their scent, I try to see if I can spot any growth spurts (fyi: none thus far) and am suddenly inspired: to cook something savory with rosemary, to make soup seasoned with thyme, to toss together a pasta with sweet basil, to make fried rice with thai basil, to flavor Indonesian dishes with lemon grass.
We also have a couple parsley plants that are starting up their second year in our garden. There’s also this crazy patch of sage that has grown where I got impatient and threw the entire packet of seeds into the dirt. Not to mention the green onions–they’re monster-sized! Who knew that all you had to do was throw green onions from the store into the dirt and they’d grow on their own? (Don’t take that throwing part quite literally.)
You know, I’m realizing that as I’m writing this, I suppose I do have a little bit of experience in the garden. I guess what I’m really trepidatious about is the flower garden. I haven’t had experience with growing flowers before. Biennials, perennials, bulbs…aren’t they all just flowers? How do I know if I’m over watering or not? Will they stay alive? What about during our inland California summers that are occasionally similar to something akin to the heat I can imagine coming from hell?
I think what’s bothering me the most is that the success you can have with flowers has nothing to do with a tangible product like vegetables and herbs that you can hold in your hand, cook with, eat. Rather, it has more to do with achieving inner satisfaction with just a mere little flower bed.
They sure are lovely, though. I hope I find out that I have a green thumb with flowers after all.