My friend Danny is a man who can grow not only an avocado plant but an avacado tree from seed. Ever since I’ve known him, he has lived a voluntarily simple life in a shotgun home that is also his art studio. His home is one of several that his family has owned since the 1940’s. In the miniature farm that surrounds his home there are citrus trees and berry vines, onions, corn, peppers and so much more. His garden has always been bigger than the indoor space where he sleeps makes music, prints t-shirts and edits videos. He freely shares much of his harvest with neighborhood families.
Danny helped me plant my first (and up to now, my only) full-scale garden. This was during my last year or so of undergraduate school In the front yard of my mother’s suburban Houston home. In the front of Mama’s house, Danny and I planted flowers that I’d chosen and in the back an edible garden. I have no words to describe what a gratifying experience it was for me to turn the soil, plant and tend this little square of land that soon, as if by magic and as if in gratitude yeilded okra, eggplant, tomatoes– FOOD! Since then, I’ve dabbled here and there but have pretty much shied away from real-deal gardening, meaning planting anything that I have the intention of eating. Why? Because– Danny’s mentorship notwithstanding– I have a brown thumb.
Spring 2014 is the season that I’ve had to face my plant-killing fear, all thanks to Big Man who to my
horror delight brought home two tiny cabbage plants from school courtesy of one of the school art teachers who is apparently a master gardener like Danny (thanks, Mr. L…). Okay. So, maybe I’m to blame for encouraging my child to love nature. But oh, the subtle dread I felt when he came around expecting me to help him keep his little green friends alive. To make him happy and to demonstrate “nothing beats a failure but a try!” and all of that, off I went to Dollar Tree for two buckets and then to ACE Hardware for good potting soil. Surprise, surpise! See the pictures to the right for the results. Not only have we NOT killed the plants, they are actually– what?– thriving!
I’ll keep you posted on what happens from here and will leave you with the titles of some beautiful gardening-related children’s books, one of them a modern classic and the remaining ones dedicated to two of my Green Muses. And also one for lagniappe.
In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby and Nicole Tudgell
(read Google books preview here)