Planting Memories

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I was only supposed to pick up a few herbs. That's it, just a little parsley and basil to replant into the tiny pots where my previous attempt had died a few months prior. You would think having grown up on a farm that I may have inherited a thumb as green as grass, but you would be acutely mistaken. The fact that my tomato plant is blooming and producing edible vegetation at all is a constant reminder that miracles happen.

I am the worst gardener I know. I will neglect my plants for days, forget to water them, let them burn in the sun, and then be shocked and disappointed that we can't make a salad out of our yard. I have perfectly delightful intentions! If intentions worked as well on plants as sun and water, then by all means I would have the Garden of Eden back there, I swear it. But, alas, my herbs have dried up and the ones that have made it this far are clearly the sturdiest of the bunch. I am hoping this summer will bring me a little more motivation to keep them growing...after all, I love to cook and I love to save money, so it seems the next logical step to grow something cheap and edible where I get to enjoy the best of both worlds!

So, the girls and I were off to Lowe's for a little "garden improvement". I had minimal funds and only the under-the-stroller compartment to contain what we needed, so I figured it was pretty safe to just go, get a few herbs, come home and make a mess of ourselves outside in the hot sun. A nice, relatively simple activity to take on with a 2-year-old and a 9-month-old (which is never actually "simple"). Josh was gone working all day, so it would be a nice Saturday surprise for him to return to.

I'm not sure when it hit me, probably somewhere between lugging a bag of soil (while pushing a stroller and making sure Matilda didn't run off into the lumberyard) and buying some flowers that were on sale...but, that moment of Lowe's-commercial-inspiration knocked me over the head. Color. That's what we needed! Color! And sure enough, not a moment later we are in the paint department going wild.

While Matilda starts yanking swatches down from the displays, "Mom-mom! Look! Brownie! Orangie! Bluuuuue! Purrrrrple!" (she was in a rainbow wonderland of imagination) I inquired with the strapping young lad behind the paint counter as to how one might go about painting a concrete birdbath. And, just like in the commercials (but with worse music and longer waiting time), the Lowe's lad hooked me up and we were on our way - turquoise paint and primer in tow.

Now...if you think that the idea of giving your backyard (albeit, only a few hundred square feet) a mini-makeover with a toddler and baby as your sidekicks sounds like a brilliant would be mistaken. (ha!) I know, I know, it was a totally spontaneous thought that developed into an entire day's activity...but, here I was with plants and dirt and paint and babies, sitting outside in the hot sun wondering why HGTV hasn't gotten me my own show yet. I mean, come on!

After many scoops of dirt, trimming of plants, yanking of weeds, a few snack breaks, many crying fits (mostly the babies), priming, painting, and hours of blood, sweat, and tears later...
Before................................and After

Tada! We did it. I still can't believe it! Both Matilda and I completely ruined our clothes. We were such a hot mess, that even after scrubbing in a hot shower we had remnants of paint and dirt still surfacing. It was actually a blast though, to throw caution (and Miracle Grow) into the wind and let our creative, inner-gardener out for the day. The beauty of planting something straight from the pot is that it is already lovely - already flowering and fruitful - and has no idea it is about to be planted into a home where many-a-plant previously met their doom. So...for the moment, we have a delightful little backyard: herbs, flowers, and an inviting birdbath that Matilda is counting on attracting "many tweet-tweets".

I'll be honest. I don't really know how long it will last. I am going to try to be better about tending this sweet little area, offering whatever TLC I can give in between the million other things on my daily to-do list. But, even if the weeds grow, or the herbs dry out, or the flowers die...I'll always have the memory of the day Matilda and I (Daphne, cheering us on from her highchair) got good and filthy and practically turned into Smurfs by painting our silly birdbath.

Three dirty girls and a turquoise birdbath. I'm sure HGTV will be calling any day now.

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