A month ago, when we moved into our new place, my mom sent me a gift certificate to Burpee. For those out of the know, this is not anything to do with babies, but a seed and seedlings company. Now this gift certificate came from– -as I said- –my mother, the plant whisperer. The horticulture graduate. She-who-grows-anything.
Though I love and appreciate plants, especially flowers, I’ve never been confident in keeping them alive. Indoors or out, seeds or plants. Some of it is just practicality: When my siblings and I were growing up, Mom would let us each choose a seed packet at Frank’s Nursery Time to plant in the summer garden. I would choose a gorgeous plant whose preferred geography was another hemisphere, and then be disappointed when it failed to prosper. (Draw whatever life lessons you will.) But maybe, as an adult, I’ve never had the true opportunity to flex my green thumb.
As an apartment dweller, I’ve never had much outdoor space, and prior to last year’s encounter with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, never had the desire to grow my own food. The building I lived in last summer had a small, overly-shaded, shared backyard with at least one elderly tenant eyeing me suspiciously every time I went out back. Like I was going to uproot his weeds, or something. Whatever. I planted zucchini (because I love it) and cauliflower (because it said it liked shade) from seedlings. The cauliflower never really…changed. The zucchini started off like rockets, long vines and big flowers but before any veggies appeared, got some sort of dark rot and died.
Fast forward a year, and we’re in a new rental with a small, sunnier yard and small, sunny deck which are Just Ours. We can grow whatever we like. Wary of vegetables and because we joined a CSA, I ordered mostly flowers from Burpee: Celosia and Dahlia seedlings, Petunia and Thumbelina Carrot and Cypress Vine seeds. The seedlings just arrived and they look frail. Not at all certain–even though they’re much further along then the carrots and petunias I planted from seeds, which are just barely wisps of green. I can’t imagine what will come of these plants, and I am even a little scared of what might come of them.
This weekend, I’m going to see my brother graduate from college at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. He’s a mechanical engineer who has secured a job with a start-up company in California, a state he’s only been for interviews and where he knows no one.
He’s a good seed. Congratulations, Ian.