Kim loves to garden, and she thinks I love to dig holes, so it’s a natural fit.
Although she normally spearheads the planting projects, I must admit I enjoy it in moderation.
I have transplanted rose of Sharon bushes all over the yard. They sprout up on their own, and I have learned that they never do so in the right place.
We also have a burning bush that likes to procreate, and I have scattered its saplings here and there around the backyard.
We have 8,000 or so varieties of plants that came from Kim’s mother, just like we have a healthy collection of aunt somebody’s variegated something-or-anothers.
Sometimes a planting project is my idea, though. I dug up a couple of cedar trees from the farm my father grew up on and planted them at the house. And as we speak, I am planning a midnight raid to Mama’s old house to dig up some of the iris I loved looking at as a kid.
Planting is rewarding, but it’s hard work.
Many years ago, we nearly died from planting 27 bushes in one day to form a shrub around the swimming pool. Thankfully, the third degree sunburn was there to take my mind off my muscles which felt like rusty log chains the next morning. The only body part I didn’t strain that day was my brain.
We still refer to that experience as the “27 red tip day” in our house. It lives in infamy. I measure all physical pain using the 27 red tip day scale.
We’ve been gardening forever. We planted a tiny garden outside our apartment the first year we were married, and we haven’t missed many — if any — years since. Ours is a city garden, nothing big. I wouldn’t want to tackle a big garden anyway, you know, because of the moderation thing.
Grant got interested in it to the point where he had his on smaller garden a few years. His had better soil. That must’ve been it. I predict once the bug is inside you, it stays there. We’ll see.
Right now, however, we have 121 heirloom tomato plants we grew from seed. One hundred and twenty-one, no joke. I just counted them. I don’t know what we’re going to do with 110 of them, but we’ll figure out something.
I said all that to say this: we’ve never planted a fruit tree.
I’ve always wished I had fruit trees, but I don’t. And that’s my fault, because I always say it will take too long before they bear fruit.
I guess I have short attention span syndrome. Or maybe I think I’m going to develop apple-infect-ivitis or some other dread fruit-related disease.
How many years ago would I have enjoyed the first apple or peach if we had planted a couple of trees the first time we talked about it?
Decades. Just fewer than three, but decades nonetheless.
I think about it often.
I’m thinking about it now because Kim visited with our 80-year-old neighbor outside last night who said she is going to plant a fruit tree.
I wonder if our neighbor has been putting off planting fruit trees for 50 years? Even if she has, what an inspiration she is. We should all aspire to see the glass half full with such gusto.
Kim said, “That’s the kind of 80 year old I want to be.”
Now, I’m not going to go in some kind of broad-sweeping, tear-jerking “what might’ve been” direction. Thankfully, I don’t have too many regrets.
But unless I change my mind, I am going to plant a couple of fruit trees.
I’ll let you know in 6 years how they turned out.