Saturday, July 10, 2010

Easy Peasy Gardening

While at Cedar Point back in the late '60's, my mom noticed a beautiful flowering plant in an impeccably manicured flowerbed next to that big blue slide they used to have. In about two seconds, she had pinched off a piece of that bush, wrapped the snippet in one of her endless supply of mom tissues and stowed it in her white purse. It stayed there for the next 12 hours while we rode, ate and ran our way through the hot Cedar Point sun.
The next morning, there was a bent and dried greenish brown stick in a juice glass on the kitchen windowsill. It looked lonely so my sister and I gave it other sticks to keep it company. Very funny, said mom, and a few days later took her Cedar Point stick outside to plant it. My sister and I made a little marker for it that said "Mom's Stick" so dad wouldn't think it was the kind of stick you run over with the mower. Today, that stick is a bush behind my folks house. We still don't know what kind of plant it is so we just call it the Cedar Point bush.
I don't trust the science of genetics, and here's why: I have a mother who takes dried brown stick things and turns them into beautiful thriving plants. I, on the other hand, can only take beautiful thriving plants and turn them into brown stick things. This is why God made hydrangeas.
You plug 'em in the ground, drizzle some water on 'em and voila! gorgeous bowers of blooms that won't quit all summer. Of course, my mom had hydrangeas, too. When she wasn't looking, we'd take the arm cover off the sofa to use as a veil, cut a cloud of white hydrangeas, kidnap Bobby Henry and make him play wedding with us.
People used to dye their hydrangeas blue and pink by watering them with diluted food coloring. Thanks to the wonders of horticulture, hydrangeas today come in the most beautiful range of whites, creams, pinks and blues. They last a really long time when you cut them which is why I have vases of them stowed in every room in the house. And they are gorgeous when they're dried.
My hydrangeas make me smile every time I look at them. Mostly because even I can't turn 'em into sticks.

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