Archive Tag:gardening

Drabble 110 – Saudade


My childhood home burned down a few years ago. I can drive by the place where I grew up, but it’s all different–there’s a big, fancy house there, set far back from the road, so different from what I remember. The blackberry bushes I used to love are gone, the strawberries and azaleas I tried and failed to grow torn up, the woods where I used to fight off bad guys with a plastic sword bulldozed over and replaced with green grass.

It’s strange to drive by there and see something that still exists so concretely in my memory be entirely erased. I dream about it in intricate detail, reliving experiences there with such intensity that it doesn’t make sense that it wouldn’t be there. How can something so concrete in my memory be gone?

In actuality, I don’t miss that house. I’m past that time in my life and I don’t want to go backward, only forward. But when I think about that corner, about watching the fog roll in over the fields, about the taste of redcaps and blackberries, it feels like a haunting.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 98 – Urticate

nettle by Leah Oswald

I grew up on an island surrounded by plants that stung and stuck to my clothes and tore scratches into my arms. I spent hours combing burs out of my cats’ fur, piling them into neat little stacks. Everything snagged.

Next to my house was a big open field of grass and blackberries and mice and nettles. The thing I remember most about the nettles was that I never really saw them–I’d run through the field carelessly, not paying any mind to the plants that lived there, and come home with bumps and stinging welts that burned and refused to abate unless you rubbed the bottom of a fern on them.

I have a scar on my knee from where a blackberry bush tore the skin open. Blood welled up there, dark red and juicy. I touched it and put my finger in my mouth, thinking it was a crushed blackberry.

Now my hands are tough and leathery and I can reach into blackberry and rosebushes without fear of thorns. They’re peppered with pale scars and callouses, but I wouldn’t trade them and fear my garden again.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 97 – Heliotropism


People often tell me that they wish they had the patience for gardening. I do too. I have a garden that I love very much, but it’s still a chore to get out there and pull weeds and check for pests. I don’t enjoy taking out the compost, especially when a bunch of fruit flies assault my face when I open the bin. I hate ants, even when they help my peonies open.

I tried and failed to keep a garden as a kid. Every plant that died was a mark of failure, but I still couldn’t bring myself to water with any regularity or keep the slugs off the strawberries. A few days ago I realized I’d lost a cantaloupe plant that had appeared to be doing well, likely because I’d forgotten to water it. I still felt guilty.

Even so, I’m looking at all the plants on my office windowsill, all of which are thriving. I’m thinking of the peonies and roses I cut this morning and put in a vase downstairs. It took two years for those peonies to bloom, but now they’re filling my living room with their sweet scent. I might have lost a cantaloupe, but I still have something.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 91 – Desiderium


For some reason, I spent a good year or two wanting to run away to live in the woods. Life was a little hard, I was reading a lot of fantasy novels about girls who could talk to animals or travel to different dimensions, and while I had none of those powers myself, I thought maybe I would have a shot at survival thanks to reading Hatchet.

Obviously, I never did it. I think I knew I’d be found in about ten minutes, or, worse, I’d be wet and hungry and tired after a single day in a Pacific Northwest forest and I’d have to come crawling home and admit defeat. I never admit defeat.

There was always some worry that my family would blame themselves for my desire to run away to the woods. Maybe they would miss me once I was gone, but I hoped they would realize it was what I had to do. “Of course Missy had to run off to the woods,” they’d say. “There is no other option for such a girl. Of course we’ll miss her, but she’ll be fine–she read a book about a kid who had to survive in the wilderness once.”

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 88 – Mycoid


It’s six p.m. as I’m writing this, and the fog is rolling in from the river. I can’t see very far, but there’s a light winking on and off from across the wetlands–it might be pleasant if I hadn’t been reading ghost stories for the past couple hours, but now it just feels kind of sinister.

This time of year, everything is damp. The soil squishes beneath your feet and moisture runs down every windowpane whether it’s rained recently or not. That’s the Pacific Northwest for you–on my side of the Cascades, March has a kind of pervasive wetness, a gloomy gray haze that gets into everything until the sun comes and dries it out in June.

It all sounds very unpleasant, but the truth is that I love it. Something grows in all this damp, even if it’s a nuisance to scrub mold out of my windowsills and watch lichen slowly creep over my fences. Fungus are beautiful in their own unique ways, even if there’s something a little unnerving about everything they do, from releasing spores to their little spongy gills to their great underground networks of interconnected fruits. And they thrive in this moisture, popping up from the earth seemingly overnight.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 45 – Les Fleurs du Mal

Les Fleurs du Mal
Studio Ghibli never fails in the flower department.

I’ve always been a cold weather person, but suffering through March when I all I want to be doing is gardening is making me seriously question my hatred for summer.

I never had a green thumb growing up. I once killed several cacti. But now I love gardening, including all the hard, annoying parts, like digging the whole thing up to loosen the soil, fertilizing with nasty-smelling, ground-up detritus, and even weeding. There is nothing more satisfying than a freshly weeded garden.

Except it’s winter. In Washington. Everything is damp and mossy and lovely but also still too cold to grow most of the things I’d like to. I can appreciate not having to water my plants for a few months, but every day I stare out my window, longing to plan something in all the sad, wet dirt I’ve worked so hard to fortify. I took my backyard from a wild mess to something I am reasonably pleased with–that’s an achievement for a perfectionist, and I’ll never stop feeling triumphant for always having fresh herbs I grew myself on hand, nor for the one-foot tall rosebush that has since grown to be a sprawling giant that threatens guests with its long arms.

A couple more months, that’s all. In the meantime, here’s a drabble.