It’s that time of year again. I crave puttering and seedlings and faded pink canvas gloves and big straw hats. There’s nothing like the hot, green smell of tomato leaves after a storm, or the random geometry of climbing yard-long beans. I’m a Southern Grandmother and it’s my right to tend the garden.
But I don’t have one and it’s my own fault. I tried to simplify yard work by moving into a gardenless garden home where mysterious bands of young rogues sweep across the subdivision on riding mowers, slinging edgers and leaf blowers. Twice a week, the battalion tidies our postage-stamp yards. A plague of well-paid locusts. They do a good job, mind you, but a yard that can be manicured in half an hour is too small for a garden.
When I was a young mother with a strapping husband and big yard, I planted thick raised-bed gardens every summer. He fought the grass and bamboo, I nurtured seedlings, weeded, and staked. Later as a single mother, I turned to flowers and herbs. It was all I could manage in those busy years. Weekends when Em went to her father’s, I’d hit the plant stores. Putting rose bushes in the ground somehow helped the shock of childless weekends. It filled the empty places.
It occurs to me now I’ve unconsciously given myself less fertile ground to tend and maybe it’s a sign. The need to parent vegetables and blooms is still strong. But gardening is maternity and I suspect my own waning fertility has made choices without consulting me.
I don’t like the sound of that. I’m not ready.
So look out, Home Depot and Lowes. It’s Sunday and I plan to worship a little dirt. Grammy needs to plant even if it’s only a few tubs on a concrete patio.