Up until a few years ago I used to go around bragging all the time about how I had a “black thumb”. Unfortunately it was true that I was spectacularly unsuccessful in keeping alive things like plants, flowers, and a beta fish. But I never realized until recently just how weird it was that basically I was saying, “You know, I just want to tell you how excited I am about this special talent of mine where I am really good at killing living things.”
Looking back now I really don’t know how my husband and I ever had enough confidence in our abilities to take in and nurture living creatures other than ourselves, given the fact that every time he goes out of town on a trip he has to sit me down, look me in the eye, and remind me to continue eating while he is gone. Or the fact that once my husband was in serious stomach pain for like 5 days, and it wasn’t until the day when he could no longer stand up straight and was walking around the house bent over at a 90 degree angle and I could actually physically overpower him and force him into the car that he went to the doctor to get treated.
But we did, and fortunately we picked cats as our living companions, animals with a remarkable capacity for self-sufficiency. (And their abilities are always constantly evolving, too. Just a couple of weeks ago Tigger discovered that if we didn’t securely attach the lid to the top of the tub of cat food that he could knock it off with his head and achieve totally unrestricted access to the entire supply of cat chow.)
So about three years ago my mother-in-law, apparently encouraged by the continual survival of our cats, decided that my husband and I needed to do some more landscaping around our house. That was fine with us, because she took charge of the whole project, and all we had to do was dig and plant where she told us to. Plus, our backyard looked really nice after she left.
I don’t think either my husband or I were expecting that to last very long, but then an amazing thing happened. Not only did the plants survive, they thrived! And they attracted really cool things, like birds, and butterflies, and rabbits.
So this year we asked her to come back and help us work on the front yard. We were really excited about this idea until we went outside to do some planning and realized that we were prominently displaying physical proof of the statement, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
Emboldened by our gardening successes of the past few years, last year we decided to put in an herb garden. We had just enough knowledge to buy the herbs, plant them, water them, and get them to take root, and then we had no idea what to do. Which meant that when my mother-in-law arrived she was going to see this:
To my knowledge, sage isn’t actually supposed to be purple. Or have fringe.
Fortunately she was very encouraging, and was just happy that we were excited about gardening. So if you’d like to see the fruits of our labor, you can go here. Who knows what we’ll work up to next year!