While I was gardening

The art of gardening and the science of life.

Getting it Right – Thoughts on my Daughter’s 20th Birthday

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My spouse and I spent the weekend with our daughter to celebrate her 20th birthday.  She will be out of the country when she turns 21, so we celebrated this birthday in a big way.  And it was a memorable time together.

I had a spare hour to walk around the university campus while my daughter worked and my spouse toured the bookstore.  The campus is a study in care – beautifully tended gardens, huge trees showing good health and great age, a creative mix of native and imported plants – and a delight to walk through.  I understand why our daughter feels nurtured there.

As I passed a bed of Daphne (a plant whose sweet scent my daughter enjoys), I remembered one particular spring afternoon when we planted a pansy garden that she would see from the living room window.  She was 3 at the time and had recently discovered the ‘faces’ of these sweet little flowers.  Together we shopped for the plants and supplies – a little bucket, trowel, and gloves in yellow and green lady bug pattern – and got to work.  I helped her dig the holes, showed her how to gently settle the plants in the hole and tuck soil around the base of each plant, and gently pat the soil down.  She was a quick study and planted all 6 pansies with care.  Once she decided my help was not needed, I turned to a few small chores and let her play.  Not long into my job she called me back.  “More holes!” she said.  I turned around to see that each little pansy had been pulled out of its hole and was carefully tucked into her bucket.  Six empty holes were left in the garden.  “I want them over there now,” she stated with certainty. So over there we went.  She dug the holes (with a little help), carefully inserted the little plants, and tucked the soil in around each plant once more.  “That’s better!” she decided.   Certain that this was not their final destination, I returned to my work while keeping an eye on the activity nearby.  Sure enough, with the single-minded determination that only a 3-year-old has, one little pansy was pulled out of its hole and carefully tucked into the lady bug bucket.  Not long after, another came out.  Then one more.  Once all 6 plants were out I asked, “More holes?”  “Yep!”

I’m not sure if my daughter inherited the gardening gene; if so, it comes from her great grandfather, her grandpa, and me.  And if so, she will be a meticulous, tenacious, creative gardener.  But even if the gene has skipped a generation, I know she will succeed at each task she attempts.  After all, the determination she has always shown in all aspects of life important to her will guide her along until she gets each one right.


Author: dphare2014

Horticulturist, Lead Steward Carkeek Park Demonstration Gardens, Author

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