It’s been a year of prompts and posts with the Grow Write Guild. To celebrate I’ve included my very first entry, which was never posted to the blog. I’ve written more about the first anniversary, what’s to come, and the release of my first collection – Riot Grrrden: Stories from the Grow Write Guild – in the next blog post. Enjoy!
The first plant I remember having all to myself was a small cactus that came from the grocery store florist. It had googly eyes that were hot glued on, which was the selling point for me. I should have known that this was a sign that it wasn’t all that well cared for but hey, I was a fifth grader. I struggled to show my parents that I could care for it, mainly because it can be difficult to find the right level of water to give cacti. I didn’t want to under water it so I ended up giving it way too much. Sometimes I still have this problem with houseplants, though I’ve gotten a lot better at catching it. The death of my googly eyed cactus lead me to think that I was probably just bad at caring for plants. It took me until after I moved away from home to give it another try. In the meantime I enjoyed wild plants and getting out in nature but I had very little experience with houseplants or gardening until much later.
At 19 I got really into bonsai. It started with one plant and grew to about seven. They’re a little expensive and finicky so I’m surprised I took to them so quickly. This is especially unexpected after I had so little previous experience caring for plants on my own. I liked the small world they created and the artistic outlet that shaping them offered me. I took the lot cross country with me as I moved from Milwaukee, WI to Seattle, WA. Before I settled into my Seattle home I spent the summer living in Ouray, Colorado, a small mountain town. This was at a very high elevation and during monsoon season but the bonsai braved the stress and elements remarkably well. I felt if they could get through that they’d get through nearly anything. On the way back up to Seattle I bought my last bonsai from a roadside stand in the middle of the desert. I was proud of my little container garden and couldn’t wait to give them a more permanent home. Unfortunately Seattle is a dark and damp place, and this proved to be too much for them. I lost them all at once. That was more than a decade ago.
Still there are firsts. A few years ago I grew my first herbs and edibles. I nurtured my first tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and carrots. Even this spring (2013) I grew my first flowers from seed, harvested my first radish and broccoli, worked in my first true in-ground garden, and maintained my first raised bed. Next year there will be others.