• Carmen Marie Fabio

Seed money

Shutterstock photo

It’s seed time of year again, also known as the annual season I convince myself I’m a competent gardener as I optimistically peruse the packages at the garden centre, setting my sights on exotic names like showy Pampas Grass, Purple Tomatillo – a relative of the Ground Cherry – and malva zebrina, a gorgeous purple and white striped flowering perennial.

And, as usual, though I diligently plant the seeds mostly according to package directions, more or less in the recommended lighting conditions, using the specified type of soil (or any other dirt that’s lying around), and I usually remember to water them, the results are always hit or miss.

The flowers are coming up nicely, the half the tomatillos that didn’t die seem okay, and I’m sure rampant crops of Pampas Grass is doing quite well somewhere in South America but it’s not showing any signs of life in the little peat pockets on my front porch.

Much like a seeding, a green thumb doesn’t just happen – it needs to be cultivated and honed through trial and error. Or, if you’re short of patience and tired of killing things, it’s probably better to defer to the experts as my brother once did many years ago.

Presenting my mother with a floundering cannabis indica, he claimed it belonged to a friend’s mother and that it just wasn’t doing well and could mom please take care of it for her?

Good soul, and good gardener that she is, not only did she take care of it, she made it her mission to nurse this scrawny plant back to health, duly pruning and fertilizing until it was healthy and strong, with dark green fan leaf clusters, free of aphids and treated with tender loving care.

That is until my sister came for a visit one weekend and asked my mom why she was growing pot in the solarium.

I didn’t see it happen but my mom says she immediately flushed the plant down the toilet, as luck would have it, before the neighbour who happened to be a police officer passed by for a visit.

The one time I tried to grow it myself decades ago, the sprouts got to be about an inch high before my then-boyfriend decided they needed to be cut back. So yeah, that killed them. Undaunted, he tried again and though he swore he didn’t try pruning the second batch, they nonetheless all disappeared in a similar manner while our fat, serene cat drifted off to sleep in a corner, purring loudly.

The long weekend ahead on the horizon is the typical time in which my memory goes into denial on my gardening failures and I blithely try to garden again, and the stranger the seed, the better.

With my equally adventurous youngest son, we’re trying our hand at Chioggia Guardsmark beets (with the concentric pink and white rings inside), dwarf eggplant, and even artichoke.

But just in case none of those work, I have my usual standbys of Morning Glories and Scarlet Runners, if only to feed the illusion that I actually know what I’m doing.

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