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Lifestyle Stories

With patience, my kids grew to appreciate gardening

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 07:14 AM

Back when my kids hung on my every word, I thought I could turn them into gardeners.

We planted vegetables and flowers from seed. We grew green bean teepees and sunflower-and-morning glory playhouses. I fully expected both children to fall in love with gardening and reap all the good that comes from it.

My son, now 21, went on to take agriculture in high school. But my daughter, now 20, declared at age 8 that she would never pull another weed. Done and done. For the next 10 years, she sat in the garden, walked through the garden, and even occasionally admired the garden. But garden the verb? That ceased to exist.

And as entertainment? OMG. LOL.

"Goin' to the camellia show with Kim!" I told her one Saturday as I happily headed out the door.

"Wow," she deadpanned. "The camellia show. You make me so excited to grow up."

But a girl's gotta eat, and a college girl far from home gets resourceful. Last fall, she e-mailed me a photo: four pots huddled in the square foot of sunlight she got in her Tallahassee apartment.

"I have basil, cilantro, garlic and avocado," she wrote.

I was proud and I told her so.

"Don't get all carried away, Mom," she warned. "I have plants to eat. It's not like I'm hitting the camellia show."

This month, she moved from the apartment into a house with three other students. It's a nice lot with trees, a little grass and a lot of dirt.

She came home last week, excited about the new place, but bothered, too.

"The yard is blank. It's boring. It needs plants!"

So Trent and I and Trent's childhood friend -- a good, tomato-growing girl -- went shopping. They declared a pink and orange celosia "TOO cute!" Pale pink begonias were "Dainty!" The purple salvia, "Adorable!"

As we headed to the parking lot with our cart full of plants, potting soil and containers, Trent was fairly skipping.

"I guess this will be what it's like when we're grown up," she told Becca. "Goin' to the plant store together. Buyin' plants."

I hadn't thought of gardening as an adults-only hobby. But I guess it does require a certain maturity. You have to be disciplined. Willing to sweat. And really, really patient.

Some seeds take years to sprout.

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