Return to Index    Next Article


Mother Nature and I have had a somewhat unharmonious relationship over the years; I have learned to let her have her way – no use arguing with the inevitability of my inability to grow a green thumb.  I have inherited neither my father’s nor sister’s penchant for gardening – but not for lack of trying! Somewhere in the universe exists the person who must have received my gardening trowel when Mother Nature was passing them out.

A beautiful blooming Azalea has been known to deteriorate overnight; a luscious Camellia drop its buds within days; a bright African Violet wither before my eyes; a Christmas Cactus that blooms only in August; the exquisite orchid that just refuses to open its buds – the list goes on. It always amazes me how a decades’ old Rhododendron along the side of a dirty, smog-ridden road can bloom so gloriously year after year and that $29.95 specimen you purchase from the nursery can just sit there and dare you to get it to bloom again. I thought that if I relocated the much sought after and hoped for plant life to my sister’s house, at least I could visit them now and then. The impulse to frown with disdain comes over me, but they are happily flowering and greening away and Karma is satisfied.

Thrown into the mix is the fact that over the years, and with every household move, I have attracted and battled more pests and animals than I care to count. I think advance notice is sent out via the “Go ahead and buy all those plants; we’re going to get you” grapevine.  Ants, caterpillars, spiders, and anything with more than 2 legs that creeps and crawls up a plant stalk; rodents of every ilk; squirrels, (that is another story altogether); rabbits, moles, hawks, deer and bear – they have all played a part in my flora and fauna demise.  Recently, it had been the lavender that the gardener promised me the deer would not eat; the special fencing material that would keep the squirrels, moles and rabbits out from under the house; the gutters that would deter nest building; the prickly bushes that would keep the bear from intruding too far onto the property – never ending nuggets of well-intended information – and I fell for every one of them. Like the time I opened the dining room shade early one morning to greet the day, only to find 2 deer breakfasting at the window box full of geraniums. Two against one, the odds were not in my favor. Then there was the bird who decided to set up housekeeping in my large plastic (yes, plastic!) door wreath and we couldn’t use the front door for months while she was egg sitting. Let’s just say Mother Nature had the upper hand.

But I am stubborn and refuse to put my gardening gloves away. After recently moving from a large country home to a third-floor condo, I set up a makeshift garden on both of my balconies.  I was determined, if not entirely mindful of my past endeavors, to make an oasis of sorts from this concrete space. How difficult could it be to set out flowering plants, water, feed and even resort to playing music for them (I think that was my Dad’s trick – he had a great voice and even sang to his plants). It has only been a few months now, and I have high hopes.  However, the bird that recently set up housekeeping in my wrought iron planter hanging on the balcony wall will just have to put up with us using the same space!          


Maryann's Musings