Despite that, I think she just always loved gardening herself. I remember as a young child, her excitement every year to garden. Now, with the front yard shaded by three enormous Douglas fir trees (and all their acidic pine needles) and the back yard shaded by a huge cedar and linden tree, about the only place to plant flowers (since they need sun) was a narrow strip along the driveway planted with rose bushes. That didn’t deter her one bit, and so, began my first (and only) childhood experience with gardening. My mother would plant other flowers in between the rose bushes, and to encourage us in her enthusiasm, she let us each pick a small patch between bushes to call our own.
I knew exactly what I wanted to put there–pansies. I thought they were the pretties of flowers and in the store she let me pick out several colors. I happily planted them, watered then, even weeded them for a few weeks. Unfortunately, that was also the summer that my parents decided to remodel the upstairs attic into a proper bedroom. The layout of the house was such the remodeling company had to lift sheetrock up through the windows upstairs to get it there. Their huge truck, parked in our driveway needed two supporting metal braces set down before they could use the lift on it, and one of them they chose to put down right on top of my pansies–smashing them completely.
I was, naturally, as traumatized as an 6 year old girl might be. And somehow, after that, I never got back into gardening.
Now and then, across the years, my mother has come and planted lovely flowers around whatever apartment or house I’m renting and my only job has been to water them. Our lovely new house here in Hood River is no exception. Mom noticed several large (and empty) planters on the back patio, and on her second visit, brought bunches of (you guessed it) pansies. Now my planters are overflowing with a rainbow of my childhood favorite flowers.
Going past them every day to and from my car, I’ve found myself stopping more and more. First to water them, then to pick off dead flowers so new ones can grow, finally weeding of all things. And slowly it dawned on me–I actually like doing this. Being out on the back patio, messing around with my mini-garden is rather fun. I’ve never liked yardwork before, and now, suddenly I do.
Is it my thirties catching up to me? Or perhaps I’ve finally been given enough pansies to overcome the childhood trauma? Either way, perhaps I’ll slowly try out gardening and see if maybe, incredibly, I actually enjoy it.