I gardened with a friend the other day. We planted coleus in the pots on her back patio.
I weeded and cleared out the canna bed while she seeded some tomatoes into a pot for seedlings she can transfer to her family’s large garden later this season.
We talked, laughed and played fetch with her ever exuberant yellow Lab, Lily.
This is the first year I’ve gardened with her – normally she takes care of her own garden tasks. This year is different because of breast cancer. She spent the late autumn and winter journeying through surgery and treatment. Her last round of treatment begins shortly.
In the days off before her final treatment, we gardened.
I noticed a scrubby looking rose bush at the side of her house. Such a random unplanted rose is not like my friend – understandably it had been forgotten last autumn in the wake of pathology reports. I wondered if I should even bother planting a rose bush that sat out all winter in its thin plastic store container, but I decided to give it a good close look just in case.
I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to keeping things that want to grow.
Surprisingly, it was budding. Negative 34 degrees in that plastic pot, wet and cold long passed too cold here in the South and it is going to live anyway.
I noticed the same for the potted crepe myrtle.
No shelter. No alcove. No garage.
Full north wind. Partial shade. All this long, wet, exceptionally cold Southern winter.
And they made it – even dared to greet spring before the average last frost date.
In comparison, my crepe myrtle was in the ground, full sun and sheltered from that cold north wind – and it did not come back this spring. My three long established roses are barely coming round.
I told my sweet friend – who has weathered this harsh winter season of life and of weather with good spirits and good faith – that her garden is telling her something and I would take it personally if I were her.
Cheering. Encouraging. Defying the odds. Beautifully. Practically. Generously.
It was a good day to garden with a friend. Despite the challenges of winter and those still before us, we agreed that overall the day was a…