A single clematis bloom winds up the honeysuckle bush that popped up between my deck and fence. I was too lazy to pull out the honeysuckle when I first noticed the growth. It’s now over 14′ tall. I am not a gardener.
Spring is here and I miss my mother in law.
My mother in law had the best garden in the history of all gardens that ever were and all that will ever be. Her garden was chaotic and beautiful. Her garden cut a wide swathe along the perimeter of her yard. I will forever associate echinacea with my mother in law.
I loved her garden and I miss her. Losing Bonnie left a hollow spot in my heart. I have felt her loss in a way I’ve experienced only a few times. Losing a cousin and then an aunt felt like this.
I wish I had taken the time to learn more about gardening when I had the chance. I have never shaken being a tiny bit mad at myself for squandering the 12 years I had with her. All I had to do was ask and, she not only would have patiently taught me all I needed to know, she would have been thrilled to do so. Now, that time has passed and I missed out.
I am so much not a gardener. It would be more accurate to call me a grave digger than a gardener. Spring is a time a renewal and life, unless you are a plant and I have purchased you. Then it’s your time of dying.
I’ve killed them all. I have killed lilac bushes and blackberry bushes. I’ve killed all manner of flower and hydrangeas. I could not successfully grow morning glories, a noxious weed, along my back fence. Although I do appear to be a dandelion success. Thistle grows nicely, in noticeable but hard to reach places.
I have killed bulbs, vines, and a holly bush. I killed pampas grass and that came with a bonus.
Randy dug a hole for the pink pampas grass and as I pulled the grass out of the greenhouse pot, dirt and fire ants rained down on my shin and foot. I was bit dozens of times. Weeks passed before those bites faded. I spent most of the Summer with my right foot and lower leg looking diseased.
It’s not that I want to kill the plants. I don’t want to kill them. I don’t wake up in the morning and demonically laugh while plotting planticide. It’s more like I have to kill the plants.
I might be a serial plant killer.
Now, I have this little rosebush. I very much would like not killing my rosebush. A friend gave it to me for mother’s day. The flowers are red with white dripping over the petals. My friend said the roses reminded her of me.
I haven’t had many instances in my life where I have been compared to a flower, so I mean it when I say I would like to not kill my roses.
My current plan is to transplant the roses in a bigger pot, keep them on the deck, and then try to keep them alive indoors over the winter. After it gets a little bigger, I’ll plant it next Spring.
So, you will be available for a plant funeral next year, right? I’m thinking around late April.
If Bonnie were still alive, she’d help me with my rose bush.
3 months to the day after Bonnie died, I was with Randy’s family. It would have been Bonnie’s 66th birthday. My sister in law had a tattoo artist at her house that day. I got a blue star on my wrist. Bonnie’s star.
I couldn’t fathom the pain Randy and his sisters felt after their mother died. I had my own pain, though. It hurt so bad to lose her.
Eight years ago, maybe a few months after I got my tattoo, I had an incredibly lucid dream about Bonnie. Randy and I were with his sister and her husband and we were in New York City. We came out of a house and walked down some stairs to the sidewalk and Bonnie was sitting on the steps. She wore a light green cotton shirt and I ran my fingers over her shoulder blade as I walked past her. I could feel a mole under the cloth. The dream was so real.
No one else seemed to see her but me. We started to walk down the sidewalk and I turned and looked at Bonnie and said “I can see you”. She smiled at me. I couldn’t see her eyes because she was wearing her glasses that got dark in the sun. She said “I can see you too.”
I am not religious. I am highly skeptical of any sort of afterlife. The best description I can give about my beliefs are that I’m agnostic with a strong leaning toward atheism. I really don’t think there is a higher being, but what the fuck do I know? I’m not the smartest motherfucker here.
That being said, I kind of feel like I saw my mother in law in that dream.
Even if I didn’t? That’s what I will choose to believe.
I think she would be proud that even though I have continued to fail as a gardener, I never give up.