A Dispatch From My Second Summer Gardening

By Monica Busch

Today, as I was picking up a package from my side door, I wondered whether the mail carrier had noticed I’d planted new flowers in the bed by the driveway, and next to the porch. We are currently more aware of our mail carrier than either Nate or I have ever been in our entire lives. So is our dog, which really sucks for the mail carrier and is embarrassing for us. 

But while we are leaving the house so infrequently that telling our dog to calm down and stop barking at the nice man outside the window has become an anticipated part of our morning routine, the good news is that I am still planting flowers in the bed by the driveway, and next to the porch. I have tried and failed to keep all that I have planted in these beds alive in the past, but I am learning what is hearty and what I can forget to water, and also which actually prefers that I do. As a consequence, the number of plants that have stuck around is increasing. This feels important, this trial and error experience that forces me to learn more about the literal earth I live on, but it’s hard to say exactly why.

I never understood the compulsion to talk about or read about gardening before, but I’m officially there. I’m in gardening Facebook groups, I get garden planning emails to my main account, and I have downloaded plant-identifying apps. A fun Saturday for me has become an early morning visit to the garden center and I am not at all underselling myself. 

It’s important to note that I don’t seem to have a green thumb, if you hadn’t already gathered from my frequent flower deaths. But, I am now at least a bit better than I was, as evidenced by the fact that this year’s vegetable garden actually grew things we have and are eating. I’m pickling jalapenos and cucumbers tomorrow. Last year, not so much. Also, at least two flowering plants I didn’t expect to come back this year, did. This leads me to believe that while I’m no natural, I can improve. And right now, that is among the most heartening feelings: believing that things can get better, if you work hard at it.

Monica Busch is Talk Vomit’s prose editor. She is also a journalist caring for two rambunctious dogs and two standoffish cats.

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