Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
It’s that time of year. The time of year when I wish I were more like my dad. My dad is a gardener. Truthfully, you’re either a gardener or you’re not. In case you’re unsure of your gardening status, here are some indicators.
Do you run into the house when your Jackson-Perkins catalog arrives yelling, “It’s here! It’s here!”? Yep! You’re a gardener. Do you have dried up pumpkin seeds from seven years ago stored in a Ziploc bag in your junk drawer? You’re not a gardener.
If the word “tiller” makes you smile from ear to ear, you’re a gardener. If the word “tiller” reminds you of the word “killer” because you usually kill everything in your yard before it even blooms, you’re not a gardener.
If you know the difference between annuals and perennials, you’re a gardener. If you think annuals are school yearbooks, you’re not a gardener.
If you have a detailed watering system which involves special water hoses, watering cans and a color-coded graph you keep on the refrigerator, you’re a gardener. If, when approaching your front porch, you see a dried-up petunia and your first reaction is to remove the lid from your McDonald’s cup and pour your leftover Diet Coke™ on it, you are not a gardener.
If neighbors comment about how lovely your flower beds look from the street, you’re a gardener. If neighbors drive a half mile out of the way just so they don’t have to pass your house, you are not a gardener.
If your garden vegetables are big and brightly colored and you proudly distribute them to everyone in the neighborhood, you are a gardener. If the deer look at your garden plants and choose to munch on a dried up acorn hull instead, you’re not a gardener.
I know. That pretty much tells the story, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. I’m not a gardener either. I sometimes manage to maintain some beautiful porch flowers, but usually the beauty only lasts until I get busy and forget to water. But that’s alright. I can still appreciate those of you with a natural love for things that grow in the soil.
My dad has loved plants for as long as I can remember. Even as a preschooler I remember the long rows of red and yellow tulips in front of our Kentucky farmhouse. I remember the endless tomatoes, fruit-bearing trees and amazing rose bushes that were all a part of my childhood.
My dad is in his late 70’s now and he still takes care of living things. Strawberries, roses, flowers of every description, fruit trees and shrubs are all a part of his spring and summer. And because he lives in Texas, he can’t depend on the rain. He has to be vigilant concerning his watering routine. And he is. That’s what gardeners do. They’re vigilant.
I may never grow prize-winning roses or record-breaking vegetables. In fact, I’m sure I won’t. But when spring comes I always appreciate those of you who do. I’m amazed at the radiant colors of spring flowers and inspired by the giddiness of gardeners as they plan their summer crops. It’s a beautiful reminder that the cold of winter is gone. And thanks to vigilant gardeners, extraordinary beauty and bounty are on the way.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.14.12