This morning I took a bit of time to putter outside, and it was so nice to focus on green growing things.
I am a renter, and for years I just let the gardening service take care of the (very basic) landscaping outside our house. I figured it wasn’t “our” house, so I shouldn’t change anything or put any of my own money into plantings. Well, over a decade later we are still in this house. We love living here, and along the way I finally began to carve out a space of our own.
It began with a couple of tiny succulents. I work at an archive with a large botanical garden, and the biannual plant sales became more than I could resist. A couple tiny ones could live in a pot, I reasoned, and come with me if we moved. Something about extra-tiny things makes them irresistible, no? With each plant sale I added one or two more, until I had a nice little stoop garden outside on our patio. Then the camellia sale came around and a pair of those came home with me, plus one for my mom. She had a glorious oasis of a garden at the time, and always loved a new plant addition. I got a large pair of pots for the camellias, excited for the blooms that their slender stems promised. Also one summer my mom house-sat for us and cared for the dogs while we went on vacation, and to surprise me for my birthday she got me a beautiful plumeria and refinished our hand-me-down patio chairs while we were gone. It was such a sweet surprise, and it got me that much more excited to actually use our little outdoor space. A few years later when she moved, I inherited some beautiful staghorn ferns, aloes, and her little camellia is reunited with her sisters.
Fast forward to now, and my little patio is full of green, growing things. I hauled a weathered pallet left on a curb back home and have it propped up against one end of the fence, where it makes a lovely spot to hang planters. We acquired a hammock as a lounging solution that takes up surprisingly little real estate, and it has become my older pup’s favorite spot to curl up with us and watch the world go by. A petite pink bistro set makes me smile every time I see it, topped with my collection of little succulents and pots. And even though life is usually hectic, every so often I’ll get to have a morning like today, where an hour can be spent re-potting, watering, puttering, tidying, and nurturing something green. Something living. Something thriving. Something content with only the most basic of needs, and flowering all the same. Somewhere in there is a lesson about stillness and contentment — but for now, I am grateful for a few moments to breathe.