I suppose I should admit that I wasn’t always interested in plants. In fact, I did my very best to be somewhere, anywhere, else all those weekend mornings that my dad held reveille at the crack of dawn. Dad had grown up on a farm and thought it would be a great character-building experience to head out to work the fields…er…the smallish garden in our back yard every weekend. I always thought there had to be better ways to build character.
When I got old enough to move into my first apartment, I was given a small plant as a housewarming gift. To my amazement, my little green friend grew and flourished with just the smallest bit of attention. Charmed, I set about finding him a whole set of adoptive siblings. We all lived quite happily together until my cat had kittens. It turns out that kittens think the dangling leaves of plants are delightful to play with. They also considered the soil the plants lived in to be far superior to traditional kitty litter. By the time the kittens were old enough to go to new homes, my plants had moved on to that garden in the sky. I realized then, that I must not a Plant Person.
Flashing forward multiple years, I found myself teaching a few preschool classes at our local Parks and Rec department. The director decided for reasons that are still unclear to me, that I should develop and teach a parent-child gardening class. It didn’t matter that I claimed to have no knowledge of gardening and had even brandished my Brown Thumb at her. She was adamant that I was the one to teach this class.
I had a couple weeks to frantically research gardening and plants in general. My challenge was to design a program simple enough for a three year old to understand, yet compelling enough to hold the interest of an adult. The more I studied, the more fascinated I became with the flora around me. When the first day of class arrived, I was ready. The parents treated me as though I were an expert in the field. They had zillions of questions to ask about the gardens surrounding our outdoor classroom, and to my astonishment, I knew most of the answers. Somehow, I was hooked on plants again.
Since then, I’ve spend more time and money visiting nurseries than I should probably admit. For the last few years, my friends and I have been coming to the plant sale held at one of our local colleges. My friends always looked around in awe at the lovely plants. I, on the other hand, in addition to admiring the plants, have enviously observed the students that had grown all those beautiful plants.
This last year, I became an empty nester. With no kids in the house and just a part-time job, I decided that the time was finally right for me to join those students and go back to school to learn about the plants that I enjoy so much.
It was a scary decision. School was a long time ago, and a lot of things have changed. To be honest, I was filled with self-doubt. Fortunately, I have the full support of my family and friends. As was mentioned by both of my instructors on the first day of school, this is the start of a wonderful new adventure.
I’m so glad I decided to take that first step.