We all have our strengths. My friend can grow anything she touches. At 95 years old, she can out-garden me on the hottest day of the summer. I’ve been learning a lot from her – like not taking it so hard when a plant doesn’t grow. She says, “If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, you haven’t lost anything but a little time.”
I wish I had that attitude. I’m the Woody Allen of horticulture. I actually feel sick to my stomach with guilt when a plant dies under my care. I feel I’ve committed murder, or at the very least, a dereliction of duty. I have failed, and that failure is a direct reflection of my character. And I take it personally. Why don’t you like me? Am I the only person with an inferiority complex in her relationship with vegetation? We’re told to talk to our plants, so I do. I even sing to them sometimes. How am I supposed to take it when their response is, “I’d rather die”?
When I had a house in Texas, I tried planting tomatoes once. It was a disaster, so when I brought home a tomato vine here in Tennessee, I was nervous to put it in the ground. It isn’t a particularly pretty vine; I won’t be entering it in the county fair. But as you can see in the pictures, I am the proud grower of two tomatoes. Progress! You will also notice the demise of my beautiful cucumber vine. I was told a-n-y-b-o-d-y can grow cucumbers. In my defense, I think a mole destroyed the roots. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with to keep my hopes from crumbling like the recently departed Mr. Cucumber.
But, hey, look at my mint! Huh? Huh? Big deal, right? Mint would grow if I did The Twist on it ritualistically. But I like to believe that this particular mint senses my need for encouragement – talking back to me in its own, fragrant way; patting me on the butt with a “Good job!” as I walk by.
I think next year I’ll plant a whole field of veggies and hold a concert.
– Anita, Noted in Nashville