Friday, May 11, 2007

The Potting Shed


I am planting my tiny lavender seedlings into larger pots today. It’s been a while since I’ve handled such little plants. The first few seedlings make me feel like all my fingers are thumbs. I’m trying not to disturb the tiny roots while setting them down into dark premoistened potting soil in which I’ve made an opening just the right size for the new plant. I try to push the fresh soil around the roots without mashing them. It gets easier after a while and I develop a comfortable rhythm. Scratch growing plants to sell from my list of possible futures. But growing for myself is definitely right there on top, clumsy as I feel. Working with fragrant plants is an instant “high.” I water them and find I have no way to make a mist fine enough to keep from toppling the little plants right over. I run water into large flats and set the pots into the flats to absorb moisture from below. I make a mental note to buy a fine sprayer. I set the flats into my cold frame and cover them with window screen to provide some shade until they adjust to the outside. I plan to leave them in the cold frame until fall, at least, to allow them to develop strong roots before I transplant them again. A cold frame appeals to my nurturing nature. Providing a shelter for tiny plants evokes the protective feeling I experienced when all my children were small and cozy inside our home, protected from the storms outside. My cold frame is on the warm south side of my garden shed. It is bordered by wild Tartarian honeysuckle on the east side. Brown thrashers and mockingbirds fly through and provide a background of activity along with robins and cardinals. A pair of bluebirds gather nest-building materials. A wren is singing its lilting little song and the cat is asleep under the garden bench. On another day he will be working to control the bird population and I’ll have to work not to be mad at him, but not this morning. The red anemones are beautiful against their background of white strawberry flowers, the snow-in-summer is blending with blue forget-me-nots, the roses are in full bud and a soft breeze stirs bell tones from my chimes hanging from a copper verdigris sun under the shed overhang. I like to think my tiny plants love the world around them as much as I do.

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