Nature Gone Wild: A Few Thoughts on Gardening
I just dusted yesterday and already a thin layer of yellow pollen is covering my desk, computer and printer. It’s no small wonder; there’s been an explosion of nature going on here the likes of nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s as if the trees and flowers, enlisted by the dandelions, have all conspired to unite and take over; a siege time-lapse photography couldn’t even capture. Visit Sweden now and you’d refuse to believe that all this green had weeks ago been nothing but bare limbs and a few unpromising shreds of grass. But I suppose that’s what 18 hours of daylight, in 24, will get you.
We’ve gotten in on the action too, weeding, tilling, planting, pruning. We’ve got six flowerbeds growing strawberries, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, beets and zucchini—this one for confidence, if nothing else makes it I trust my zucchini to pull through.
All this cultivation has added up to untold hours (just ask my boys), and money. No I’m not paying them, they get to live here. I mean I’m spending money on plants like it’s a sale on shoes at Nordstrom. It’s a pricey business and I’ve decided that buying perennials is not unlike buying fashion. If you want quality, you’re going to have to pay for it. But then again…it is dirt people, right? So why am I spending $30.00 for a pot of lavender? I suppose it’s for the same reasons we’re all buying water in plastic drinking bottles…um, like that makes sense? But whatever, I need plants and we all need to hydrate and on a Monday morning I’m not making it more complicated than that.
I see a pot of Gerber daisies and think Okay, I have a space. But that space I see now, come fall will be filled in with the flowers that I’ve already planted nearby, plants that will grow and spread and need room (this is all in theory, of course). But I’m impatient. I want every patch of dirt filled in right now, today, so I can sit back and enjoy my blooms! But that’s not how this gardening stuff works, it takes time and patience and did I mention patience? I’m not going to draw all the metaphors for you, but kneeling on the ground pulling weeds feels like some kind of repentance for things I’ve done in another lifetime. It’s endless and for those of us with a slight case of OCD, I’m not mentioning names here, really, really taxing.
What it comes down to in the end is what it always comes down to…hope, faith, and trust. A kind of quixotic positivity that all those baby seeds I planted, no bigger than some speck of something you’d pull from between your teeth after lunch, are going to turn out the way they look on the package. With a little luck, and a lot of Swedish sunshine, I might just get a salad out of it.