By Barbara Glass
Until reaching adulthood, I thought red geraniums were the only flower ever planted. That’s all my mother ever bought and all I knew. Imagine my surprise when I visited the plant nursery for the first time! Geraniums come in pinks and white, and there are so many other choices!
■ The first thing I learned about gardening is there is such incredible diversity — all sorts of shapes, heights, textures, colors and variations. Gardening in early Spring is a most pleasant experience. So much beauty to behold. It’s heaven on earth.
■ I learned that some plants work better in some places than others, and sometimes in unexpected places. The instructions may say “sun” or “shade” – but don’t let that fool you. Over time, I’ve learned that begonias say, “grows in shade,” but actually can tolerate a lot of sun. Experiment.
■ Fact is some plants don’t grow for lots of reasons: too much heat, sun, shade, poor drainage, poor soil content, crowding — and sometimes, they just aren’t “happy.” Plants can find their “happy” place in locations and grow profusely; conversely, some should work in a particular spot and just don’t. Note to the gardener: don’t take this personally. Plants are just like that.
■ I prefer perennials to annuals. There is a warm feeling in greeting a perennial peeking up through the dirt in early Spring. Tiny green heads emerging randomly after a long, cold winter gives gardeners comfort in nature’s elegant renewal.
■ I have learned to live without my Yankee plants — lilacs, dogwoods, and rhododendrons — and have found several spectacular replacements that would not grow up north — yellow bells are a favorite.
■ Those beautiful Texas wildflowers are actually weeds — bluebonnets, coreopsis, primrose, Indian paintbrush. They are God’s reward for enduring Texas summers.
■ I have acquired a green thumb over a lifetime. Mostly, my flowers flourish. I’ve learned their ways in different climates and settings, and enjoy the peace of dwelling in the garden. I converse with plants by caring for them. We understand one another in quiet conversation. Curiously, I’ve never had good luck with geraniums. Sorry, Mom. I’ve moved on. It’s a whole new diverse world out there and I’m happy to be part of it!