Gardening and Life

Last year, I planted black and white petunias in large pots and when winter came, I just left the dead plants where they were. I didn’t see any reason to clear them out because they’d be covered with snow anyway. Today, when I cleaned out the desiccated plants, I noticed some seedlings in the pot. They didn’t seem like weeds, though I’m sure some weed seedlings have smooth, rounded leaves like these little guys.

I looked online for images of petunia seedlings, on the off chance that the flowers had reseeded themselves, and sure enough, those seedlings are petunias. I didn’t know that they could reseed themselves. I’m considering letting them get large enough to transplant, and then plant them in the garden to see if they would become a permanent fixture. Or not. These petunias were black and white, and I’m not sure how much color they would add. But I’ll wait and see how I feel when it gets to that point.

One of my future flower projects will be to start cultivating self-seeders. I like when flowers come up on their own without my intervention because I don’t have luck with seeds, though it does look as if some of the California poppies are starting to come up. (So far, those are the only seeds from the wildflower mix that I planted last fall that’s making an appearance.) Come to think of it, I’ve planted several varieties of flowers that are supposed to reseed themselves, but the only one I’ve ever had any luck with is larkspur, so much so, that I have many areas where larkspur is growing.

As my yard takes hold, when the bushes and perennials are established so I know what areas to focus on, that will be the time to “fine tune” the garden, to fill in weedy spots and to find out what plants will do well here in this area of weather extremes. That could still be years. My raised garden hasn’t been built yet, so when that’s done, it will be a whole summer’s project just getting it filled in and planted. And there is a long strip of weeds and grass going toward the alley that I’m not going to worry about until the back pathway is finished.

It’s interesting to me that I have become so fixated on my yard and gardening. It’s never been something I’ve been interested in, though I have always loved seeing other people’s beautiful yards. The only times I ever tried gardening was when I was about seven or eight and my mother gave me a small garden spot to play with. I planted sweet williams, and some even came up, but I never repeated the experience until Jeff and I tried to garden. The only thing we could grow were lilacs and Siberian elms. Everything else, absolutely everything else except weeds, including several six-foot trees, disappeared into the jaws of grasshoppers. Voracious creatures! I get scared every time I see one in my yard now, but so far, they’ve been courteous eaters, only nibbling on a few things and leaving the rest alone.

And now, here I am, spending hours every day outside, grooming my yard.

Life does strange things to all of us.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

More Planting

I’d planned to go to a plant nursery in the big city (a joke — it’s actually a small town, but since it’s about four times the size of this town, it seems like a city), but my car is still out of commission. Bizarrely, I can go for years with no car problems, and then I hit a period where one thing after another goes wrong. I started out in February with spark plugs that had burned out even though they were only a few months old. The culprit was the carburetor. So the mechanic ordered a carburetor, and a couple of weeks later, when he received the order, I made an appointment to have him replace it.

As with everything else to do with a vintage vehicle, it wasn’t as easy to install as it would seem. My pervious mechanic had replaced the vacuum ignition with an electronic one. Apparently, the electronic ignition doesn’t “speak” to the carburetor that belongs in my car, so the previous mechanic put in an old, rebuilt carburetor. Not surprising, once the ew carburetor was installed, there were problems with the electronic ignition, necessitating the ordering of another part — a vacuum advance distributor. The part finally came it. I picked up the car a week ago Friday, and it worked perfectly. Except for one little thing. The brake warning light kept coming on.

So yesterday, I had another appointment with the mechanic. We thought it would be a simple matter of perhaps bleeding the brake lines and topping up the brake fluid, but it was more than that — some part on the rear brakes was broken, or at least that’s what I thought he said. On the way home, the part completely broke. Or maybe another part broke because if it was only a part on the rear brakes that was broken, I would have thought the front brakes would still work. Either way, I now have no brakes. I wouldn’t be surprised if the part that broke was very old. I don’t remember ever being without at least some braking power. It’s truly scary driving without brakes, even just inching along. Luckily, I only have to drive a quarter of a mile on side streets to take my car back in when the part is delivered.

Suffice to say, I haven’t been able to get to the nursery, so each of the past couple of days I walked to the local hardware store to pick up a few seedlings to plant. I did the same today, but when they agreed to deliver the plants to me, I bought several — way more than I could carry on foot. Which is good, because now I have several things to plant tomorrow. Which is bad because now I have several things to plant. I’m just being silly. There’s no bad at all, and I am actually looking forward to doing the work.

Last year, I bought a bag of potting soil, and because supposedly it deteriorates, I thought I should use it for sure this year, hence the petunias. To be honest, I’ve never like petunias, but a couple of years ago I saw black petunias (that’s what they’re called, but they are really just a very dark purple), and I became enamored of them. So now I have a few black petunias to call my own.

I also got a few cream-colored petunias to plant with the black for contrast. It’s funny to think I spent all that money to keep from wasting a few dollars-worth of soil, but having to use the soil did give me a reason to buy more plants.

The easiest part of the planting was the hanging plant. All I had to do was hang it on a hook. The pole for the hook was a fence post that got cemented into the foundation of the house. When the old fence was taken out and the new fence around the whole property put in, the post remained. A hook, a bit of cement, and the fencepost became something completely different!

I also have a post on the opposite corner of the house, but the store didn’t have a matching pair of hanging plants, and besides, I ran out of money, so that might be a project for another day.

What was so great about all of this is that I got some plants and I didn’t even need a car to go get them.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

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