(Original post 3/23/2015 – Updated 3/23/2021)
I wouldn’t claim to be a gardener, but I do
I don’t really have plants in the ground, actually, but in lots and lots of pots (does that even count as gardening?) And before I could plant the 2 dozen or so new plants, I first had to take care of last year’s leftovers, which after the fall and winter amounted to pots of dried, brown sticks and hard-as-a-rock soil. I set the brightly colored flats of new flowers aside, filled my watering can and got to work. As I moistened the soil and began to remove the remnants of last year’s flowers, I tried to remember what they even were.
I honestly couldn’t tell the petunias from the marigolds – all the dried brown looked pretty much the same (did I mention I’m not really a gardener?!) But no matter – out they came, shriveled roots & all to make room for the new tenants.
After cleaning up the soil in each pot and choosing where each new plant would go, I
I finished a few more pots, feeling happier with each addition – the transformation of the patio from winter to spring was happening before my eyes, and I loved the feeling of knowing these little beauties would be around for awhile. Then I came to the 6-packs – the groups of petunias that had all been seedlings together, but were now obviously ready for rooms of their own. As I tried to remove the first plant, the roots were so tightly entwined, I couldn’t remove one without bringing its neighbor. In fact, all six were a root-bound
When I went out the next morning to enjoy the new beauty (and to see if they all had survived!), and I’m sure I’m totally projecting here, but of all the plants I potted on the patio, those little petunias just seemed to look the happiest! They were no longer confined to a space where they had no place to go, but were spreading out and doing what plants are meant to do….grow.
There are times in our lives when we hardly even notice transitions, like when babies become toddlers; we don’t know when it happens, but clearly it does because one day we’re buying Pull-Ups instead of Pampers. Or we suddenly realize we’ve been at the same house….or the same job…..or with the same partner for 10 – 15 – 20 years. It hardly seems possible – the changes were so gradual.
I thought about that as I was snipping those petunias (seriously….this is how my mind works!) I thought about how they would die without being set free from those cramped containers. If they could talk, I seriously doubt they’d say, “Hey, nice lady with the sharp shears – can you please come over here and cut our roots?” But that’s why there are gardeners….to know what they need and to see that they are given every opportunity to thrive.