As precious as it is to watch my five-year-old, all dressed up in blizzard attire, sing “Frosty the Snowman” to his own creation, I’m ready for winter to be over.
I’m one of those New Yorkers who loves the idea of four seasons, not the reality. I don’t like snow, and I’m glad when it leaves. But it’s only January, and I have a bit of a wait.
All is not lost though, because I just got my first seed catalog. I feel just like a kid whenever a new garden catalog arrives. I look over each new plant and flower and imagine where I will put them in this year’s garden. Should I plant the new white sunflowers this year? Or should I turn my back bed into a rose garden and try some of the antique varieties I have read about?
I can obsess on these small details for hours as I plan my perfect garden.
Never in a million years did I think that I would become obsessed with gardening. Growing up, I never had so much as a passing interest in gardening. I love flowers but was always content to buy, not grow, them.
My parents are lifelong gardeners and practiced organic gardening long before it was all the rage. Some of my sweetest memories of my mother involve watching her work on her flowers as I would sit next to her and chat about my day. I even worked for a man who was on the board of the NY Horticultural Society. I had tons of opportunities to catch the gardening bug. I just thought I was immune.
Then I became a mother.
I didn’t get infected with the gardening bug until we were in our present home for about three years. By then, I was knee deep in the baby and toddler years. Our son was four and our daughter one. I was exhausted and drained.
Our son was breaking out in hives and no doctor or test could figure out why. Then he had his first asthma attack. On top of which I was already juggling pre-school, speech and occupational therapy for him and trying to figure out the nature of our daughter’s developmental problems. My life felt a little out of control.
Then I went to the garden center with my father. I started with just a few container gardens and window boxes. I had so much fun planting and taking care of the flowers. It was easy. If I bought the right flower, for the right spot, it grew. I didn’t have to come up with creative ideas to get it to grow. I didn’t have to consult countless specialists. I just had to water them.
If a plant isn’t working out, I can transplant it, or cut it back. Heck, I can even rip it out and start all over again. I can’t do that with my kids.
I now have five flower beds, all made with me and my trusty garden spade. (I just don’t work well with a shovel.) I fuss over each plant and flower the same way I do with my kids. I get lost working in my garden. It is my perfect escape.
Who would have thought that I had to become a mother to enjoy Mother Nature?