Let me start with a disclaimer – I am not a gardener. Truth be told, I hate gardening. My parents have the most beautiful gardens, and I always dreamed of having a yard resembling a Thomas Kincaide painting. Of course, that would require countless hours of planning, planting, weeding, and scolding children and dogs. I would much rather be reading a book! But I do have to admit that I love flower gardens. I love the romance of a vast collection of fragrant blossoms bowing in the breeze. A fully in-bloom rose trellis makes me practically giddy, and there’s nothing quite as beautiful as a lilac bush bursting with little flowers that tickle one’s nose with their sweetness. If only I had the patience, skill, and desire to create such a masterpiece.
A couple years ago, just before Mother’s Day, my husband dug out, cobblestoned around, and filled with topsoil two brand new gardens in our front yard. I kept my mouth shut as I watched him labor all week and wondered who was going to tend them all summer. That Saturday, Ken proudly pulled down the driveway with the bed of his truck overflowing with flowers, bushes, and plants. He beamed from ear to ear as he led me out to see his treasure trove of shining greenery and flowering gems.
“Happy Mother’s Day,” he exclaimed. “I’ve bought you all of your favorite flowers and bushes so that you can plant them and have them in the yard and the house all summer.”
All I could think of was how much money I was going to watch wither away in the dry heat of our Mid-Atlantic summer and how many hours I was going to have to spend weeding around every one of those plants. With a smile on my face, I helped Ken and the girls unload the plants, and we spent the rest of the day (okay, the next several days) adding the plants to the gardens, mulching around them, and giving them water.
When we were done, my husband asked me if I liked them. I forced a smile and said they were beautiful.
I then asked, “Who is going to take care of them?” I saw the confusion pass over Ken’s face as he looked at me trying to decide whether or not I was kidding.
“You are,” he said. “I know how much you love gardening.” Now was the moment of truth. Did I dare?
I took a deep breath and said “I love gardens, not gardening.”
Ken’s face fell, and he was speechless. I quickly smiled and grabbed his hand. “But I’m sure we will all enjoy tending these together.” It wasn’t a complete save, but he was okay with it, and I avoided having to weed by myself all summer long.
Two years later, our yard is beginning to awaken. The forsythia is in full bloom, and the tulips and daffodils that we planted last year and added to this year are beginning to fade; but the rose bushes look promising, and the liriope, day lilies, hydrangea, and irises are filling out nicely. Soon, the Black-Eyed Susans will begin to emerge. In the center of those two gardens are my favorite bushes, lilacs, which were my present last Mother’s Day. I even planted them myself. I will never be a world class gardener like my father, and my girls, who take after me, will continue to complain every year when we bring home a new load of mulch and annuals; but someday, I know our yard will be as pretty as a picture. After all, Ken works hard on them, as do our girls, and I know it’s all done as a labor of love.
Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.