Happy Earth Day!
Earth Day or not, my kid wants to be in the dirt.
Specifically, planting in it. Or weeding it. Or hoeing/raking/shoveling it. Gardening it! He loves it so much, it was his birthday party theme for two years.
Where he gets this passion for gardening, I have no idea because it is the polar opposite of anything I would ever volunteer to do.
I love to be outside but preferably resting my feet on some warm terracotta hardscape, a cold beverage in my right hand and a Bill Bryson book in my left.
For one thing, I cannot STAND bugs. I hate them. HATE them! The way they skitter so fast, and they can hide out and surprise you at any second, even in your sleep and….crawl on you. I would not do well in any other part of the country, I think. The worst thing I ever came across in my entire childhood at the beach was ants. No big whoop.
Then, I moved to the wild suburbs and discovered:
1) Earwigs. Doesn’t the name just give you the heeby jeebies? So will the sight of them and their hideous, HIDEOUS! pincers.
2) Tarantula Hawk Wasps. They do unspeakable things to tarantulas and if you see the wasps, you know those poor tarantulas aren’t far behind. If you catch me saying “poor” tarantulas, you know they really deserve it. Those Tarantula Hawks are nasty. And they say their sting is the second most painful insect sting in the world.
What is the most painful, you ask? You weirdo? Well, it’s a Bullet Ant, okay? Its name comes from the lovely sensation of their sting in your flesh. (You’ll never know what I endured to bring that bit of information to you. My computer froze just as I clicked on a site all about this indelicate subject, and I was faced with an arrestingly close-up shot of an insect face for longer than I care to remember. I did it so you don’t have to. But if you can’t help yourself, click here).
There are more bugs where I live (!) but those are the worst. I’m actually more okay with the snakes than these little buggers. Hey – bugger – I wonder if that’s where that word came from…Somewhere Cute Banker is rolling his eyes because I ask him that on a weekly basis. And now, my 5-year-old sweetie pie has started to analyze words to the same cute (annoying? no!) degree.
Okay, so back to Sweetie Pie and his younger brother, Pumpkin: The Gardeners.
Today being Earth Day, I decided to “let the child lead,” blah blah blah, follow his interests, blah blah, and indulge his passions, blah. I put on a big old pretend happy face and got on over to the nursery. We paid good money for a bag of dirt. And fertilizer (do you know what that is a euphemism for??), and other generally unpleasant things.
Naturally, juvenile bliss ensued. (I guess he can’t share all my interests. Fine.).
Here are some pictures of my sweet little gardeners, tending their new plants.
Wield those tools, boys!
This is what you get when you ask a child to say “Earth Day” instead of “cheese.” I don’t know why.
The Happy Gardener
Marigolds discourage pests. I would smile, too.
Photo credit: Sweetie Pie, Age 5
Photo Credit: Pumpkin, Age 4
Approximately four thousand years ago, my grandmother gave me some starts from her potted plants (she’s an optimistic sort).
This geranium – yes, that’s what it is, I swear – has experienced a bit of a drought lately. It lives all the way on the other side of the pool fence and I can rarely muster the wherewithall to go over and water the thing. I do love it’s cheerful red flowers, though. I hope it sticks around. We gave it some love today, so we’ll see.
My grandmother also gave me a bulb, sometime in the last century, that turned into this plant.
I don’t even know the name of this thing. But somehow, it has managed to survive living with me through four moves, two children, two cats, and one husband. I have never, ever repotted it. I have not fertilized it in over half a decade. All I do is put it in the dark garage for several months a year, and every spring, it springs forth again.
It survives on Grandma’s love, alone.
Welp, recently, one of the two children (see Gardening Hooligans, above) threw a ball straight at its pot. Again: I don’t know why.
So, I was forced to re-pot it. Forced to…garden.
What I found astonished me: 27 bulbs under the dirt, most sprouting new life and aiming for the sky! I repotted a handful of them in this second blue pot. The rest sit, loved and cared for, yet somewhat abandoned: I ran out of dirt!
Looks like another trip to the nursery is in store. You’re welcome, Pumpkin. Happy Earth Month.