It occurred to me this morning while I was out dusting my roses, that I have never stayed in a house long enough to reap the rewards of all my plantings.
In my late twenties, I began to take on the habits of my GrandMosie and Grandmother Libby, taking clippings from roses whenever the children and I came upon them. They too began to pick out favorites, casting furtive glances as I carefully cut. We wrapped the stems in a moistened napkin and stashed them away in my backpack just as I had seen my grandmothers do time and time again. Once home the trimmings were dipped in Root Tone and the children would take them and plant them gingerly in the nursing pot with the others. The following spring, we would transplant all those that had survived and taken root. Amazingly, they almost always did. Our backyard on Magnolia Street filled and then overflowed, roses waving like a rumpled tapestry.
Then the children and I moved back home to Rainbow City and I –now in my thirties – discovered a love of azaleas wild and hybrid, magnolias, evergreens and pear trees. And so I planted, watered, nurtured. Eventually … I moved again.
Several summers ago -almost twelve years later -I took a late evening drive back to Rainbow City. When I neared the homeplace I slowed, astounded by the growth, the sheer beauty of all I had planted so many years before. It was just as I had thought it would be, what I had imagined when I chose the plants and placed them. A sudden wistfulness quickly consumed me; then just as quickly was squelched when I noticed a woman out back, watering and smiling. And, did I see her talking gently to my plants? I wanted to stop and tell her their history, which ones were planted on birthdays, and other special occasions.
Perhaps someday I will put down permanent roots as well. Until then, I will continue my love of planting –wherever I go.