Or more like into the Wild…or rather into my backyard…
So, I have a confession to make. Until about two years ago I knew two species (is that what they’re called) of flowers: Roses—of course every gal knows what that is, and Hydrangea’s—because I think they are the most precious, delicate, scene stealers there are and I fell in love with them at first sight. Just recently I figured out the difference between a daffodil and a petunia, the difference between a Calla Lily, an Easter Lily and a Lily Pad, and learned that an ornamental cherry tree just doesn’t produce cherries.
Even though I grew up in the country and even though my mom is the biggest nature lover I have ever met, I’ve never been very interested in learning about flora or fauna, or planting a garden, or spending any more time than I had to out in nature swatting off mosquitos and running from bees—until now. I’m not sure why the sudden urge to figure it all out, I think there may be a plethora of underlying reasons. Maybe because it’s just flat-out embarrassing that I really don’t know even the basics, maybe because it would be nice to teach my children how to plant and sustain plant life—I do know we need all the oxygen we can get, and maybe because it’s truly a challenge for me to get past my fears of creepy, crawly things that typically lurk outdoors.
I’ve recently asked myself: Does it make me shallow that I learned all the names of shoe designers before I learned the difference between a Ficus tree and a ….crap, I can’t think of any other tree. Wait, they’re coming to me…Maple, Palm, Mimosa, Pine, Douglas Fir, Blue Spruce, Redwood…and that’s about it. Sad, I know–mom stop cringing.
Does it make me arrogant that I learned as much about wine starting at the age of twenty-one as humanly possibly, including studying French wine for well over two years, before learning how to prune a bush?
Probably not and probably not. I’ll just say I’ve been a bit distracted with building businesses, traveling the world, and raising kids. But it makes me ignorant not knowing what these beautiful, flowering things are called–and I can’t go on like this.
I’m officially a student of the outdoors, and learning as I grow. I now know that you have to water your nicely potted plants more than twice a week to keep them alive. (It’s more like twice a day, and if you’re travelling you better have a back up plan.)
I’ve got a long way already since last summer when I decided I would try to grow tomatoes–that was interesting. My mom and I planted them, well she did and I watched, and a few weeks later they started to show their green little faces. And then a few weeks later I had hundreds of them, and then before I knew it I had massive amounts of big, fat, juicy, red bombs laying all over my flower bed. I called my girlfriend Joy—who has a green thumb—up to survey my attack of the killer tomatoes.
“OMG,” I think were her exact words. “You didn’t stake these?”
“I’ll be back.” And five minutes later she returned with a ball of twine and wooden stakes—perfect for a vampire massacre.
Joy started holding up the vines, which were heavy as could be and I followed her direction and tied and tied and tied, for over two hours.
“Shannon Coombs, don’t ever do this again,” she said to me in a motherly way. I had to laugh. She bought me tomato cages for my birthday this year, I will put them to good use.
Thank God tomorrow is another day, so I can drop to my knees just like Scarlet O’hara did in Gone With The Wind, scoop up some dirt in my hand, and as it falls through the cracks between my fingers say, “As God as my witness…I will never let my plants go unwatered again.”