Trying my brown thumb at this

Published 12:08 am Saturday, May 24, 2014

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”

This saying from Rudyard Kipling amused me when I ran across it a few minutes after planting some flowers in a planter I ordered from a television shopping program. The inventor of the planter and another person demonstrated how it worked. It looked so easy that I thought even I, a person with a brown thumb, could do it. Before I could stop myself, I placed an order for the hanging basket planter through the Internet.

Once the planter arrived, I purchased some plants and potting soil, and placed them on a table on my glassed-in back porch. I located them there where they would get plenty of sunshine. I checked on them every morning, promising myself I would get to them soon. Finally, on Thursday, I hauled everything outside and found a pleasant, shady place to take care of my little “gardening” chore. The planter had eight holes on the side to slip in the plants, with some little plastic squares to snap in each one. It was not long before I realized I had miscalculated how much potting soil I needed. I used it all up in the planter and needed more. It was obvious that I also needed a few more plants to put in the top of the planter. Once everything is in place, I will hang it on one of the poles where a bird feeder container once hung. I hope it will get the right amount of sun for each plant. Only time will tell whether I made the right choice of plants, and if the planter is in the right place.

Through the years, I always just left the care of potted plants to my mother after she came to live with us. My husband was the gardener. Both of them had green thumbs. They really enjoyed working with growing things. I still have several of my mother’s Sansevieria trifasciata, also known as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue. Today, one is almost as tall as I am. Unfortunately, when we had to transplant Mother’s Confederate rose bush in the front yard, it did not survive. The Confederate rose blooms change from white to dark rose and fold up as the day wears on. I enjoyed sharing them with friends.

Almost every spring, my husband got the itch for a vegetable garden. I accompanied him to the local co-op where he selected several varieties of squash, tomato, eggplant, cucumber and pepper plants. He always complained that the soil in our back yard was the “poorest soil in the county,” but that did not deter him from enthusiastically planting a little garden. Every morning after breakfast, he got up from the table saying, “Let’s check on the garden.” It was fun to watch the plants grow and even more fun to “harvest” when things started ripening. We especially enjoyed eating those vegetables he grew in our back yard.