The weather this spring has been wonky. It stayed cold longer than usual. When the sun decided to make an appearance, it made early May feel more like late August.
Then the tropics began to change the atmosphere. This past weekend was more seasonal. We took that as a sign to plant more flowers and shrubs in the yard.
Heading to Lowe's, we loaded down two carts full of plants. When all the charges were tallied and I swiped my credit card, the lights dimmed. I could have sworn I heard a cheer from the back office. I'm guessing we single-handedly helped the corporation hit a sales target for the quarter.
We bought orange and yellow marigolds. In the cart we had cardinal flowers and a flower that old folks called a cockscomb. We sprung for a star jasmine plant for the front arbor. We have one jasmine plant that we bought years ago, so we bought a companion so it wouldn’t be lonely. It cost enough to feed a third world country for a week. Jasmine adds beauty and an intoxicating aroma to our front walk when they bloom in spring.
My “pick of the litter” on the list of plants we bought was flowering moss. I love that plant.
I learned about it before I started to grammar school. My great-grandmother Liddy Watson lived next door to us in an old camp house with tarpaper siding. The house itself would have been a little sad had it not been for her green thumb and the fact that she kept that little house spotless.
Her yard would have made Southern Living magazine photographers giddy with excitement. She didn’t have fancy store-bought pots, but she had flowers and herbs blooming in every Crisco can, feed bucket, thunder-mug and barrel she could find. She also made use of worn out car and tractor tires.
Between the posts on her front porch were homemade hanging baskets made from car tires. The bottom part of the tires was her makeshift flower pots. The top half of the tire had been cut away leaving nothing but the inner ring which she used as hangers.
She would have made fun of people who "bought flower or garden seed." Everything in her garden and flower beds were heirloom. She’d been saving seeds since WWI. During winter, she cared for her delicate shrubs as if they were a baby with a fever. Each spring and summer they paid her back for her loving care.
Some people these days might call her yard with all the cans, pots and kettles a redneck flower garden. That may be true but when her yard was in full bloom, I don’t think anyone would say it was not a thing of beauty.
Our plants haven't started blooming yet but it won’t be long. I can’t wait until the flowering moss starts its show. The blossoms make me think of bubblegum. I just wish I had a redneck hanging tire flower pot to put them in.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at email@example.com.