It’s spring and I am married to a gardener! That’s significant. He loves to plant. It’s a place of great peace and escape for him, and when this time of year arrives, it’s “Tally Ho!” I join in, and if he needs help, I’m well trained in that area by now.
We were searching for vegetables and flower plants at our local stores, but there was not much yet. We had already planted onions, so that was not on our list. We drove to Great Bend, and bingo, there were several watering holes. Hey, it’s an outing, and it’s outside! I was looking forward to this excuse for socialization!
I could see the readiness in Fred as we drove up to the lot. He was a bloodhound on the scent. I looked at all that green stuff and felt, well, a bit overwhelmed. Where to start?
He reminded me, “Just look around. Look at all the different flower plants first, and just pick some out that you think would look good.” Me in my head, “Uhhhhhhh. Oh. Welllll. I’m looking.” Now I know geraniums, pansies, snapdragons, and asters, but rhododendron, cyclamen baptisia, verbena? Not so much. I know what I like though. Salvia is a winner with me. But, the others? Those names for some reason slide off my head.
Back to Fred. Fred was on the hunt. He looked serious, but I know he was having fun. He held three or four plants in his hand. We don’t just push a normal size cart. Oh no. We push the big commercial cart with a bottom shelf and a top one too.
Fred reminded me of me, shopping in a department store. I have to look at everything first! I guess that’s called “getting a lay of the land.” I never see Fred shop with abandon. He shops like most men. If he needs a pair of socks, he goes in the store and buys socks. He enters the store looking for the socks, and afterwards, he is done. We women don’t shop that way. We go expressly to look for things to buy! However, today in the vegetable and flower market, Fred has transformed. Price is no object ... well, that’s not true. But, certainly six of this and six of that is no threat to his male shopper instinct. This place is his candy store!
We arrived home with our flowers, and tomatoes, peppers, and such. Unloading them, all I could think was, “What have we done?” when Fred looked at me and said, “We went a little overboard, didn’t we?”
The next day, we started the potting and the planting. There’s something fun about digging into a bag of new dirt, spading up the pots of dried dirt, and carefully placing these little baby plants deep into the soil. They look like they will never take on their characteristic name.
We potted, and we scrounged, and we ended up with 25 containers of flowers. That’s about right. We only went over five or six extras, and we had pots for all of them. We placed them in their allotted spaces outside, and decided we were done. Then, oh no, we spotted a box of marigolds. Fred: “No, that’s ok. Those are for the vegetable garden to help get rid of pests.”
Well, I just want you all to know out there that we left plenty for you all! In fact, I am sure there were shipments coming in the very next day, and we might have missed something. And, at that, we bought tomatoes too, and some peppers. But there were plenty.
On the more serious side, I want to encourage each of you to plant some kind of a garden this spring. It doesn’t have to be large, but a small plot can yield a lot of food. Don’t plant peas! They are so much work. But, think about potatoes, maybe, and tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, green peppers ... foods like that. They may come in handy and the effort is not that much. It used to be a common yearly event for most families to plant their own gardens. This may be the year!
As for us, if we do not get a good yield of veggies, well, we will eat our flowers!
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or juditabler@awomansview.