Pruning, Sowing and the greenness of my thumb…

I’ve been thinking lately about pruning.  Not the kind that happens to your fingers when you’ve been in the water too long.  Not the act of downing those sickly sweet fruits when your internal plumbing is slower than it should be. Not the kind that involves taking flowery or superfluous language out of your writing so it is more concise (although I’m sure some might think I need to look into that more…)

I’m talking about the kind of pruning that helps your garden grow…

On a particularly rough day at work a few weeks back, everyone who was present that day received potted daisies from a co-worker for surviving the madness.  My daisies were purple (my favorite color!) and I took them home, so I could plant them in my garden….

Except… I don’t have a garden. This is one of the things that bothers me about apartment living (there are only a few), but since I’ve never had a garden, and didn’t really know what to do to make one flourish, I’d never been so bothered to do anything about it.  Not to mention, for this particular problem, there are workarounds.  I have two balconies — one, located off the living room that gets hardly any sun as it is somewhat hidden and faces North, and the other, which faces West and is pretty much Hades as soon as the sun hits it from April through November.  I chose the other.

Ever since I had Maya, I wanted to cut out the less productive things in my life, like spending endless hours watching TV, and do things that were more creative, things where I could get my hands dirty. I wanted to have a garden, however small. To sow. I thought it would be fun for us to grow strawberries or tomatoes, and practical, allowing for sensory play and …well, a harvest. I had only talked about it until now, and figured my daisies would be a start.

I put them on the balcony outside the bedroom and watered them regularly.  Regardless, whatever blooms that had been there, slowly started drying up. The leaves were green for the most part, but those poor little blooms were toasty.  I thought maybe I was underwatering, so I upped that a bit, but my purple daisies did not want to show themselves.

I got some potted herbs at Trader Joe’s to make myself feel as if my thumb was not black, some golden lemon thyme and some English thyme, already blooming and smelling delicious. I watered them, and they grew like wildfire.  The English thyme started to flower or “bolt” as they call it and I remembered that I read somewhere that I should probably prune it so that it would continue to grow and be useful.  Then the Santa Ana winds came and knocked the English thyme into oblivion. Note to self: procure heavier pots.

I thought that perhaps the pruning back of healthy plants, might work also for unhealthy ones, so I took my shears and nipped off the dried purple daisies (and anything else that look dried). I thought perhaps the last bits of living in those dying were using up resources for the new shoots that had yet to appear. I cut, watered, and waited.

I’ve said a few times that I set my life on fire (thanks Rumi) when I decided to divorce my ex, and I’ve sought those that would fan my flames… things were dying on the vine, I was slowly dying and I knew in that instance the only way to my rebirth was flame.

What I see now, what I was not so good at then, but have gotten better at lately – is pruning and sowing. The letting go of the nearly gone, the no longer healthy or right…to make for a better garden in which to live my life. Perhaps I could have done that earlier and and in a better way, so that I didn’t have to set everything afire, though I know in this case, the outcome would have been the same.  Things end up as they are supposed to, however they get there.

I bought some potting soil today, re-potted the lemon thyme and started off some zinnias that I got from a friend over a year ago.

L-R, Daisies, Lemon Thyme, Zinnias…No Silverbells or Cockle Shells here…

Lately, I’ve also been more conscious of pruning and sowing the garden that exists in my mind…letting go of the negative thoughts, being more grateful even in the face of negative situations…teaching myself Portuguese and French, brushing up on my Italian, and teaching myself and Maya a little piano.

A few days after I pruned my daisies, I saw a new purple bloom appear.  It was a bit lopsided…some of the petals had been either eaten or blown off, but it was something. My thumb was a deeper shade of green than I thought…not so black after all.

By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...


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