Addictions of the Horticultural Variety

Friday, May 8, 2015

A month or so ago we couldn't believe it would happen, but it did.  After months of frigid cold, snow and relentless wind, just as Mother Nature promises spring arrived and what seems like minutes later, so did summer.  Whew!  I don't know about you but I sure miss those days when spring actually lasted more than a few days.  I miss the times when we could use those 50 and 60 degree days to clean up the yard and ready the gardens for the new growing season.  It seems like spring is barely a tease, a brief interval between a long winter followed by a doubly long summer.  Oh I'm not complaining!  I'll take this over the sub-zero weather that made us beg for warmth, but I miss an old fashioned, unhurried spring.
With spring comes the growing season and for those of us who enjoy gardening, this is the season that challenges our will power and empties our wallets.  I come from a long line of gardening addicts.  My grandmother (my mother's mom) was certifiable when it came to flower addiction.  There wasn't a flower or shrub she didn't love, or a patch of dirt she couldn't fill with something that bloomed.   When I was 19 she and my grandfather took me to Hawaii.  I'll never forget her fascination with everything that bloomed there and her attempts to "collect" little snips of tropical plants.  It's a wonder we never got arrested for smuggling horticulture out of the state.  It was not unusual when she perused garden centers to look for a little shoot that just happened to "break off" a plant. It was also not unusual for her to slip that little broken shoot into her pocket for safe keeping.  When it came to flowers, my otherwise honest and upstanding citizen of a grandmother became a petty criminal.  It wasn't her fault.....she had "the addiction".
A 'piece' of my mom's garden on the lake
My mom inherited the addiction, although I'm pretty sure she hasn't crossed the legal line when it comes to 'collecting'.   She pays for her habit.  And like my grandmother, she loves everything that grows and can make room for everything (and anything) that grows.  Before she sold her home on the lake, she was well known and referred to as "the flower lady".  Everyone who drove around the lake appreciated her addiction and some even stopped to enjoy the view.  My dad wouldn't admit he liked flowers, but we know he enjoyed the beauty my mom created and I know he was proud of all the accolades she received from neighbors and passersby.  Like all addicts, my mom had difficulty "Saying No" to flowers and although my dad wouldn't have been angry with her purchases, she was clever when her addiction overtook her.  Knowing my dad didn't pay much attention to detail, my mom would sometimes wait till dad was watching tv to empty the trunk of her latest acquisitions.  She'd tuck the pots of contraband between established flowers and then when he was out fishing, she'd plant the new purchases.  Naturally, he couldn't detect the newcomers!  It was an unnecessary but comical game, one that even dad laughed about it in later years as my mom would confess her secrets.  
A little corner of my backyard
Not only were my mom and grandmother serious addicts, they were amazing gardeners.  Anything you could grow, they could  grow better.  I may have inherited their passion for flowers, but the green thumb gene got compromised before landing with me.  Mom and I can buy the same plant and hers will inevitably grow three times the size of mine.  I swear, she 'wills' plants to perform.  On just two tomato plants last year she harvested enough tomatoes to eat herself and share with others.  When she sold her home and moved into an apartment, those of us who know of her addiction wondered what she'd do with less space to satisfy her craving.  I soon realized there was no need to worry because my mom managed to fill a 6 x 10" plot of soil with a large variety of annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and pots without breaking a sweat.  Now, two years later, she's made herself content with a window box, a few roses, a couple of tomatoes and a couple of perennials............but hey, the season is young!  I'm not holding her to that....I know how difficult it is to walk away from temptation.
My side garden
Like my grandmother and my mom, I too have the addiction.  I never let the fact that we lived in a rented apartment stop me from gardening.  I filled my little corner of the world with all the green I could and when we finally bought our first home, I wasted no time in creating several garden plots.  I've been known to come home with a trunk full of flowers only to unload flats and pots from the trunk and be left wondering where on earth I thought I had space for more flowers.  As I've gotten older, it's become a little easier to control my addiction.  These days I tend to only bring home as much as I have room for...but as you gardeners know.....hanging pots are a great way to keep planting once your ground is occupied.  I know there's a gardener out there who agrees you can never have too many flowers!

Like addicts of all varieties, we need a  'source' and when it comes to flowers.......the more the better.  Over the years I've honed my skill when it comes to feeding my addiction, and although I have some favorite  suppliers, I'm always open to checking out a new one.  In my next few posts I will be sharing some of my old favorite suppliers as well as a new-found garden paradise.  I'm sure some of you out there must know a flower addict or two......or might even be one yourself.  So if you're needing to satisfy your gardening fix....come back soon to "Life As I See It" where you never know where this blog will take you next! But I can promise your wallet will be lighter and your gardens brighter after my next series!

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