There’s something about the nightly ritual of filling up a large container to the brim with water and nourishment for my plant babies. Then carting it around the house, filling the pots with one hand and picking off browning parts of the plant with the other hand. After I finish watering the potted plants, I make my way out to the front yard to refresh our newly(ish) planted daisy thing, Vitex, and some other shrub that attracts butterflies and bees. We also have two saplings out front, roses, a peach tree, fuschsia peonies, lots of Russian sage, and lots of flowering beauties, but I typically water the newbies and the saplings the most. In the back, we have two cherry trees, three apple trees, a baby Aspen, two Golden Chain trees, blackberries, rhubarb, lilac, roses, mint, iris, lilies, and two rapidly developing Elms. Fetching the hose and dragging it around the back is not always pleasant, but witnessing the plants recover from a long day in the unusually hot sun is pleasant. It’s as if I can almost hear them say “Ahhhh”.
When I traveled to Texas last month to be with my mother for her first round of chemo, I spent a lot of time gardening with my grandmother. We dug lots of holes, mixed clay and soil, and planted two hibiscus shrubs. I watched her nurse her plants with gallons of water from the hose. I made a comment about the water usage, and she explained that newly planted foliage needs lots and lots of water, especially in Texas where temperatures ranged from 98 degrees to 115 degrees. Our fresh plants in Colorado have cracked and become brittle to the touch. Holes adorn most of the leaves on our Vitex and daisy thing (for the life of me, I can’t remember its name. It’s not daisy, but it looks like one). After I returned home, I’ve doubled and sometimes tripled the amount of water I poured on the plants. It’s made all the difference.
This ritual feels so nurturing and gentle yet so powerful and life sustaining. The distinct smell of water rises and wafts from the pavement and soil under a pink-gold sky. It always reminds me of my grandmother who has been teaching me about plants and gardening since I was a toddler (though one time she led me astray when I was a curious toddler and wanted to pick some fruit from her garden. She unloaded a carton of strawberries from the grocery store when I wasn’t looking, and I gladly scooped them up into my basket). If I stay out long enough, like I did last night, I can hear the squeak of sleepy bats flying overhead who are just waking up from their daily slumber. It feeds my soul.
What’s a ritual or routine that brings you delight?
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