Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Gardening Interests, Habits, and Skills Change

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Gardening Interests, Habits and Skills Change Over the Years
Yes, it’s March and Spring should only be a couple weeks away! I say should, because there’s a huge snow storm raging on the East Coast today, right next to us in Virginia they’re getting like five to ten or more inches of snow! That’s where all my family is, where I was born and raised, but here in North Carolina we’re only getting a few flurries!  Stuck inside, looking out, gardening is on my mind! Come on Spring!

When I was a young woman, before heart disease stole my breath and energy from me, when Fall came, I’d root any cuttings I wanted to take, repot things if necessary, bring them in and set my plants up in an ideal situation, as much as possible. I installed a huge tray of gravel, made of cookie sheets clipped together, like nine of them at least!  I’d set the flower pots on top of the gravel, voila, instant humidity for the winter house and great drainage for the plants! The cookie pans didn’t show by the way, and I put a thick piece of plastic under them to protect the tile floor from any leaks. Then my sweet husband installed grow lights for me, and even put them on a timer and a remote control! I fed or didn’t feed the plants based on the best research I could find. Pruned, rotated, did whatever my plants needed as I was a passionate gardener!  I used this set up for years, and felt so proud of myself! 

Of course, you know the story:  one child is born, second child born, parents get sick and need help, die, church involvement grows, kids grow, PTA and band boosters call!  We call it life. (I wouldn’t be so cavalier about the grief of my parents’ deaths, but it has been 33 years, and eventually you realize it’s part of life, but you miss them.) Plants, or our own interests, tend to take a back seat.

Suddenly, it seems, your kids are grown and independent; you retire, or have time to pursue you own passions again. Or in my case, you become disabled with a health condition, and after the initial shock and depression, you pick your head up and think, hmm…I can still do some of the things I love, with help! My help comes from my stellar husband Max, my daughters who are wonderful to me, and from friends and extended family whom I live and cherish for their support and help, although I hate needing it! See the wonderful wheelchair ramp Max built for me , and I use it everyday! Not being independent is a whole other post! However, as life changes, abilities change, and we have to adapt. The indoor garden was just too much to maintain and went by the wayside years ago! 

In 2003, we moved into the house where we live now, into a diverse neighborhood, diverse in ages, races, and faiths. I love it! Who can be bored with so many interesting people around! And lo and behold, there were gardeners here! Wow! Wise, experienced and skilled gardeners!  They lit a fire under me again!

 The most wonderful thing about the gardeners I found in my new neighborhood was that they shared! They shared their knowledge, “this is how you prune a cle-ma’-tis Helen”. They shared their plants, “here’s a cutting of a double red knock-out rose—take all you want!” They shared their philosophies, “gardening is a process…just let it unfold over the years…” Wow! I was in heaven! 

    I remember meeting a neighbor from a nearby street, one of my best friends now, but who, at the time, became named my “daylily buddy”! She had a yard full of the most gorgeous daylilies I had ever seen! She shared with me, and took me, wheelchair and all, to daylily shows and sales! Oh my gracious,  I fell in love with daylilies! Unfortunately, I was operating only on emotion… “oh, I love this color, oh look at these ruffles,  oh smell that fragrance!”  And I planted that way..with love and enthusiasm, not science or forethought! LOL  The bottom line is that I do not know the names of many of my daylilies, I just know I love them!  So, I am not the scientific gardener that I once was, oh I do a little research, but I am a happy gardener.  

Author: Helen Holshouser

Old enough to enjoy life, I am a Red Hatter, grandmother, gardener, and amateur genealogist. I am a retired clinical psychologist, master's level, who is disabled with heart disease, but having fun with family and friends. Married over 40 years, I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. I have learned that grandchildren provide a joy one never knew existed---writing feeds my soul, gardening is therapy, and genealogy research makes me feel like a detective!

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