One evening last week, my husband had to drop our youngest son at my office to spend the last hour of my day with me there. Of course, I still had work to complete, so I took Isaac and my laptop off to a secluded corner of the newsroom. I had books and paper for him to play with, and he was happily engaged for several minutes as I worked.
Then, “Where’s the fountain, Mom? I’m thirsty.” There was no fountain nearby.
“Can you wait?” I asked.
His face lit up.
Sure enough, he used an origami fold to fashion a piece of newspaper into a cup, and filled it at the sink. He slaked his thirst, but noticed that his cup didn’t stand up to the water. Over the next 30 minutes, he experimented with newsprint, glossy ads, office paper, double attached layers, double detatched layers, to find the best solution.
I loved watching his brain work. Not only was he creating the better water cup, he was happily killing time other kids might have spent whining. What a great, creative kid!
It’s my favorite part of the gardening season, the creative time, when the soil is laid bare, waiting to be made beautiful. No weeding. Somewhere, about 13 miles southeast of here, our hostas and ferns are unfurling, the urn on the front steps is awaiting pansies or impatiens, the rosebush is just beginning to bud. The columbine buds are beginning to bloom. The new owners aren’t gardeners, although they said they’d like to be. Three dogs. We’d better just let it go.
But this is a new house for my folks, and the previous owner’s idea of landscaping had mostly to do with concrete and landscaping rock. Jeff and my dad have spent two weekends pulling out rock and amending the soil. Yes, the hard work.
Yesterday, Mom and I went to Lowe’s, just to look. The next thing, there were three hibiscus trees in my cart. Oh, where did the cart come from? Then some thyme, some dusty miller … you get the idea. Dad likes to have some say, too, and we did fret (a little) about his reaction when we came home with a car full of bedding plants. Still, we kept finding more, some ornamental grasses, lambs’ ears, daylilies. Mom and I have joked in the past that we are like kerosene for each others’ crazy ideas, and this time, it was my turn. We laughed at our own jokes, and found our own rationalizations. Yes, Dad loves dianthus, you know. Foosh. Yes, those pincushion flowers are lovely, too. Foosh. Yes, those purple coral bells will be so pretty against the yellow of the house. Foosh.
It was like Christmas. We came home and laid out the plants in the freshly turned and amended soil. Dad wasn’t annoyed, after all. And today, when I came home from work, they were planted and watered. It’s not my garden, but it’s going to be beautiful.