The other day my grandson Aiden and I schlepped to Star Nursery and loaded up our little red wagon with herbs, tomato plants and fragrant hyacinth flowers. I couldn't wait to put them all into the soil I'd prepared for their arrival. Every day from now on I'll go out and practically try and will the plants to grow before my eyes. I am an eternal optimist. Within months, when the hot sun hits and remains for four months, I'll be lucky to have one or two plants remaining.
It was my grandmother Oberlander that gave me an appreciation for growing things. Her home, the one where I grew up, was filled with plants; the grounds of our property were overgrown with flowers and trees. Her favorite, I think, were cactus. When I moved to Las Vegas I took her to the Cactus Garden at Ethel M's in Henderson. Filled with embarrassment and fear of getting caught, I watched as she made her way snipping pieces off of plants and stuffing them in her purse. She could take a clipping of most any living plant and grow it into a showpiece. She could take any item: a rock, an old shoe, a chipped cup and turn it into a happy home for her plants.
When I moved to southern California, I was thrilled to know I could pretty much grow things year-round. I reveled in turning the dirt over, enclosing my garden patch to keep the chickens I raised out. I would happily weed the flower beds, careful not to disturb the roots of my seedlings. Watching a tiny seed grow into a 6-foot sunflower is awe inspiring to me.
Here in Las Vegas I have had to be a bit more creative in how I approach the growing of things. Container gardening has been the most successful. Like my grandmother I envision almost any receptacle as a place to plant; an old, discarded bookcase is the home to my newest purchases.
Through trial and error I've had to figure out the best locations on the property where the sun doesn't shine for a full twelve hours each day. I have some success and that is what inspires me to keep on planting.
A Pepper tree that will need to be replaced
Aiden and I will go out later today and water our new plants. He was in charge of digging the little pocket the plant would be placed in and then carefully placing dirt around its rootball. My grandmother may have left us a while ago but she is still teaching and inspiring. Through me I will pass on her love of things that grow. I can hardly wait to hear the embarrassed gasp from one of my own grandchildren when they take me to a botanical garden and in horror watch me snip cuttings and slip them into my purse.