Summer hit with a vengeance this past week. Apparently, it believes it has making up to do after failing to show up last year. So here it is: heat, humidity, blazing sun, the works–all in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, in which one half of Canadians vanish into the woods to drink beer and get drunk, and the other half goes to the garden store to buy annuals and dig up dirt.
With the exception of those few freakish Canadians who spend the weekend shopping, most of us are communing with nature one way or the other. I chose the dirt option, not being one to drink beer particularly, nor to spend a few hours sitting in traffic in order to get to the forest on this one, hallowed weekend. And I did my very best, but–well. Six year old girls don’t care overmuch about whether or not their flower gardens contain native plants.
Six-year-old girls, or at least my six-year-old girl, care about whether or not their flowers are pink.
I got her pink flowers. They’re not native. They’re gerbera daisies and impatiens, and they’re very pretty, and her friends are envious, but they’re not native. I feel mildly guilty about this but since I’ve yet to see either gerbera daisies or impatiens propogating wildly all over the beloved shady slopes of my favourite parks (unlike daffodills, say) I’m not too worried about them. Maybe I should be. What do you think, Dear Readers?
Apparently, once you are done planting your flowers in your flower garden pot, and watering them and generally loving them and making them feel welcome, the thing to do is to dig into the ground beside the flower pot and move clumps of grass from one spot to another. This I did not know, but it certainly made her hands filthy, which is the point of the entire exercise–another thing I didn’t know.
Human beings like to nurture other species, including plants. Gardening is part of our nature; we’ve been at it for at least ten thousand years. It’s not perfection: our gardens are a source of invasive species, often times, including some of our most common local plants today such as tansies and Queen Anne’s Lace. In fact it often seems that the native flowers are outnumbered by naturalized ones at a ratio of about two:0ne, at least where I live.
I thought I might start up a series on that: native or not? Because I know you are all dying to know the origins of, say, bouncing bet or butter-and-eggs.
In the meantime, Frances’s flower garden consists of a bunch of greedy, space-hogging, sun-loving foreign annuals, and she loves and adores them, and I love and adore her, and the important thing is that she got outside and got her hands muddy. Having a garden is a way of caring for and having a relationship with a small patch of nature, a way of interacting with something you’re responsible for but didn’t make or build. It’s good for the soul, even if, strictly speaking, those impatiens don’t belong here.