I love flowers. Not just love, I LURRRRVE flowers. Even just plain old vegetation. It doesn’t even have to flower. Vegetation and foliage of any sort.
When I am surrounded by plants and trees, a different part of my brain turns on. I am in my happy place. I come from a long line of gardeners, women who took their gardens seriously. My family farm is still producing blooms from flowers my great-grandma planted decades ago.
Being around greenery soothes my mind. It just puts me into a happier, quieter, simpler frame of mind. I care for nothing but the shades of green, the perfect little buds and the amazing amazing colours only nature can produce in flowers. Watching bees do their thing is fascinating. Digging in the dirt and yanking out weeds is so stress relieving to me. I cannot walk past any little shop selling cut flowers without slowing significantly and examining them all. Walking down a residential street in downtown Toronto with me requires amazing and endless patience. I have to stop and admire each and every little front yard garden. I insist on pointing out my favourites to those walking with me, and if I know the latin name, I have to show off by reciting it and ensuring they know I was speaking Latin.
Thanks to my job a few years back at a flower farm, I know a multitude of plants by their latin names. Saying these names makes me feel really smart. At the farm, I got to talk to hundreds of people about their gardens. I got to design gardens solely comprised of different ornamental grasses, I got to help people design gardens meant to attract butterflies and songbirds, I tried to help pick out flowers more deer-resistant than typical plants, I got to design woodland gardens (my favourites) and help people who had fought against their clay soils for years.
I loved this job. When I wasn’t designing gardens with other people’s money, I was maintaining gardens that I couldn’t possibly afford to create or have on my own. I was putzing around in a greenhouse, inhaling the smells of moist soil, moss and brand new greenery. I was in my heaven. I was set to be promoted the next year, and due to circumstances out of my control, I wasn’t able to take the job.
That was it for me when it came to gardening. I live in downtown Toronto and don’t have a clod of dirt to my name. I can’t grow anything on my balcony, since it’s covered and very dark. I don’t live close enough to any urban gardens, where you can rent a plot of land to grow whatever you please, and plus they all have huge long waiting lists for other land-starved urbanites such as myself. I went from acres of land with dozens of display gardens and cutting gardens to not even a potted plant in sight.
Now, it may come as a shock to you all, but sometimes I get a wee bit worked up. I know, right? So having something so effective at reducing my stress was really beneficial and always very convenient. I grew up with a huge back yard, I had a job that allowed me to garden my little heart out, and then it as all yanked out from under me. I even did my third year undergrad thesis on native plant gardening.
All I have now is a plant I stole from work. It grows quite happily on top of my wine bar, but it’s really lame and (don’t tell it I said so), I don’t love it very much at all. It doesn’t fulfill my green thumbery needs.
So imagine folks, my joy, when I was asked to help fix up a friend’s yard. Oh, I was so there. I went over (AT 10 AM ON A SUNDAY!!!!), all geared up and ready to go. Me and her 7 year old son were impatiently nagging her, asking if we could go outside yet, while she got everything ready for our super yummy lunch in a few hours. Eventually I couldn’t handle it and just ran outside into the great blue yonder. They followed me eventually.
I got to weed!! I got to dig around in the dirt! I got to play with snails and yucky insects and smell the earth!!!
After weeding and eating scrumptious broccoli soup and yummy Greek honey dessert things and two (and a half) glasses of wine, I got to drunkenly garden. Imagine my drunken glee when my friend told me, as I was asking her where she wanted her new plants arranged, that IT WAS UP TO ME!!!!! Oh happy day.
Folks, I have an adopted plot of land now. Sure, it’s far away and it involves taking the Dufferin bus (if you’re a Torontonian, you KNOW what that means), but I have been told I have free reign on it! I’m allowed to buy plants and bring them to her house and insert them into the ground there!
This is gonna be the Best. Summer. Ever. Little does she know, she’s never getting rid of me until it snows. Throughout the summer, I’ll snap some pics and share my gardening pizzazz with you all.
I’ve also heard rumours of the back yard being converted to a vegetable garden. Oh, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and beans, here I come babies!!! I may have to bully her into planting peas just so I can eat them raw when the time comes. And for some reason, my mom always planted gladiolas in our vegetable garden. I can probably convince her to do that too. Though my efforts at being sneaky won’t work, cuz I know she reads this here blog. Of course, I can’t really turn it into what I want it to be, cuz…in the end, it’s NOT my yard. But at least I can play in it. I’ve often considered playing in other people’s yards, but those fantasies usually end with me being hauled away in a cop car, screaming about how I just really love green things.
I’m SO damn excited.