Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Soil + toil = plant parenthood

In the past, I've not been a gardener.

If you're a long time reader, you read about a friend giving me several flowering leafy growths for my front porch planter boxes.

My plant-unfriendly, brown thumb reputation had already spread widely among growing greenery; I swear I could hear them yelling, "NNNNNNNnnnooooooooooooooooooOOOOO! Not with her!!" as they were inserted in soil that was to be their new - and short lived - home.

Well, the home remains, but they were short lived, try as I might to care for them. I learned the hard way that "more water" is not always the key to rejuvenation. Or juvenation, for that matter.

All that is changing.

I am determined to live up to my grandmother's name: Gardner. I know the official spelling for folks who work with the earth to grow things is "gardener," but it's probably just a matter of dropping the vowel somewhere along the line in our family's history.

Though come to think of it, I don't recall anyone doing gardening as a living. There was a house painter, a mechanic, a laundry- .. a- no, no. No gardeners. Oh, well, I'm only familiar with the last two generations and I'm sure way back when...

Fortunately, my assistant Aaron is by my side as we plug new plants into dirt. Since his knowledge does not exceed mine, we're doing a lot of research about the selection of colorful annuals, biennials, perennials, bushes, shrubs and trees.

We've only planted colorful flowers that do well in cold weather. It's unusually chilly for Seattle this time of year (NO, this does NOT refute the notion of our planet's climate crisis, or as some have proclaimed it, "global warming.") - so we've had to stash all the warm-veined growths inside.

They take up a lot of room and there's not enough sunshine to support them living in here with me for many more weeks... so, hopefully, warm weather is on its way. Soon.

Since I love humming birds, we've put two honeysuckle bushes where we can see them when they visit, along with a little hanging hummingbird feeder nearby. Butterflies already grace my limited landscape, so no need to lure any more.

I'm also getting more indoor shade-loving plants because a study I read recently reported (what inspired this whole idea) that people who live with lots of beautiful greenery and flowers inside and outside enjoy healthier, buoyant, resilient lives with much less sickness, chronic illness, diseases and poor health.

I am for that!

A friend is a former editor of Sunset magazine, and every time we go for walks - in a neighborhood or in the country - he always points out every type of flora, including their popular and official (Latin) names, discussing the merits of each plant we pass. He is definitely in touch with his inner gardener. His home has a thriving plant population inside and out, along with a gold fish pond.

He is in demand to speak all over the world about the famous and brilliant people whose gardens he has visited. Each has a garden remarkably suited to the individual's personality.

He's also worked with organic vegetation, and has a very funny story of walking with England's Prince Charles, who is a champion of organic foods. As their walk came to an end, Steve was unexpectedly put in a reception line with the prince to his left and Queen Elizabeth on his right - without ever being properly introduced to her.

He explains that she is a very short woman, so while he has never formally met Her Royal Majesty, he has smelled her. He leaned over her head, took a whiff and, pleased with what he smelled, felt they somehow created a bond. Of fragrance.

When he speaks of, or introduces, me? Rather than mention my non-existent foliage, he says simply, "Colleen has three dogs and a cat." They nod, with sympathetic "I see. Botanically barren," furrowed brows.

But I digress.

I'll take photos of our progress. I'm looking forward to creating scenery inside and out that makes all visitors smile ... and healthy. I'm also looking forward to moving all my new floral roommates outside where they belong ... when the weather warms up. I could be wrong, but I believe the possiblity of ... alergies ... is in the air.

You know what Ben Franklin said about fish and houseguests. Three days. That was four days ago.

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