With the promise of summer floating like dandelion fluff on a soft breeze, I get gardening fever around April each year. By the end of May Iâ€™ve usually planted our vegetable garden, our assorted pots and planters, and thrown in a few new species of perennials for fun.
I water those plant babies, feed them, and hack back any threatening weeds. I scold our dog Booker for digging them up, and hiss at chipmunks doing likewise. I put up supportive cages and trellises, spray the plants with insecticidal soaps, and augment with bone meal without trying to think too hard about where those bones came from. In other words Iâ€™m vigilant and at times obsessive about making my plants happy and healthy.
What do I get for my efforts? Well, sometimes I get great results, but more often than not Iâ€™m disappointed too. Vines wither, tomatoes host diseases, and berries disappear before I can pick them. Hot weather requires endless watering, and harmful bugs arrive without invitation. I tell myself it is all worth it because Iâ€™m part of a bigger system. I matter.
Ha. Really? In the shallow cement crease of our garage door apron, a small flower sprouted early this summer. Keep in mind this plant gets zero attention, lives in essentially no soil, is not watered by me, and is apt to have a lawnmower wheel or two crush it on any given day. Howâ€™s it doing? Check out the picture.
If anything, the blooms have gotten bigger and better with each go around. How? Why? What? Am I supposed to learn that nature is greater than nurture after all? Beats me. But each time I carry a heavy bucket of water to my pampered plants I glance at the little flower. It humbles me and is the best part of my day.