Grow Write Guild #1: Write About Your First Plant

I do an awful lot of blogging over on the Spotts Garden Service blog, which means that sometimes I’m fresh out of ideas when it’s time to blog here. So to help me keep posting new content, I’m going to work from the Grow Write Guild prompts over at You Grow Girl. Don’t worry, I’ll still make plenty of time for posts about chickens, cats, and the joy of thrifting.

Write About Your First Plant

We weren’t gardeners in my family. In fact, the first time I asked my mother if I could have a garden out  back (I was a sophomore in high school), she said, “Sure. But you know, the rabbits are just going to eat it.” At the time, it was enough to deter me.

So I didn’t have much experience with plants as a kid. But we did have peonies.

Peonies and ants: pillars of my childhood.

Peonies and ants: pillars of my childhood.

I’ve written before about peonies. They’re the state flower of Indiana, beautiful, long-living, and super tough. Perfect for those like us who didn’t really know anything about plants.

We had a few herbaceous peonies at our house. They bloomed profusely in May. My grandmother (also not a gardener) had an enormous peony border in her back yard. Pink and whites blended like an Impressionist painting and formed a frame for the front third of her garden, which was the grassy lawn we played on.

Each May, we would cut our own peonies and maybe some from our friends’ gardens, stick them in a bucket, and make the drive to the cemetery. My father died when I was seven, and each year we visited his grave and that of my mother’s parents, aunt, and uncle.

Cemeteries didn’t bother me at all. I liked the stone monuments, and the flowers, and even the quiet of the cemetery. I didn’t like that my mom got sad, but I liked hearing the stories of her relatives and feeling connected to people who I hadn’t really ever known.

Every  year, my mom would say that she had promised her own mother she would continue to decorate the graves.  So every year of my childhood, I would ride in the back seat of the car with a bucket of peonies between my legs, ants crawling all over me, and the sweet, sweet fragrance surrounding me.

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