I thought maybe it was Spring.
But that was way back in February.
Who was I kidding?
March was coming.
March in Arkansas is cold and wet. And even a bit snowy. Yes, snowy.
No matter how harsh or mild our “winter” has been, March sputters and spits and toys with our emotions and clothing options. March is a cruel mistress.
She is to our Spring what September is to our Autumn; A complete and utter tease.
These pictures are all from a lovely warm weekend in February when I was inspired to begin to fluff our front porch and pot some ornamental plants and herbs.
Now they are all inside, and they – along with the dozen herb pots from the side porch, – are stashed here and there throughout our main rooms, near windows, perched on stools and bookshelves.
Suddenly my house has begun to take on a Mrs. Roper feel and I have the urge to wear caftans over my leggings and fuggs.
Thankfully the forecast is looking warmer, and today I get to put them all back outside, maybe even for a whole week!
The sage and lavender will be particularly happy as they are not loving indoor life as much as some of the others.
The fact that I can even tell that my sage is droopy and that my lavender is depressed is somewhat of a miracle.
Somewhere around 19 years ago, when Nathan and I left the little college town where we had met, and moved to the “big city” of Little Rock, my mother brought us two huge beautiful ferns as an house (apartment) warming gift.
Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I killed those ferns, I killed them dead, dead, dead.
Ferns. The supper easy house plant of the ages.
Over the next dozen years or so there would be more house warming gifts, and hostess gifts, and get-well gifts, and congrats on the baby gifts, – all botanical in nature.
And I would kill each and everyone. Boom, pow, blast.
I would kill them with water and sunlight and shade and plant food.
And soon it was clear. I was a serial plant killer, and probably always wood be.
And then one day, after a year of learning what it meant to be rooted in love to a place and a community and a house and I life I didn’t really want, a life I was stuck with (a life surprisingly filled with beauty and grace as it turned out...) I decided to try again.
One day, walking through the big blue hardware store, I noticed a rack of small, colorful, rubbery looking plants. And they made me think of my friend Liz, and how she always had beautiful rubbery looking plants.
So I bought three (three being the magic number and all…)
And I brought them home.
And I killed one quickly.
I killed one slowly.
And then, by some miracle one lived. It didn’t grow much, but it lived.
Not long after that we moved to Preservation Acres.
And for the first year we made trip after trip to all the big and little hardware stores, sometimes daily.
So when Spring came, I grabbed three more succulents and brought them home.
This time two lived and one died.
But the two that lived, grew. And grew. And grew. Enough to split them into multiple pots.
That summer I met my friend Xandra at the Farmer’s Market, and I bought a small potted herb garden from her for my deck.
Again, there were three plants in the burlap pot.
This time I killed two, but the basil lived. And thrived. And lasted until winter.
The next summer I planted basil, and thyme and lavender myself.
The basil and the thyme went nuts. The lavender eventually gave up the ghost.
Inside the house the succulents thrived, as did house plants people had given me at our House Blessing.
No one who knew of my criminal record could believe their eyes.
My mother, who has a beautiful green thumb, has a theory.
She thinks that this house likes me. That it is happy that we are here, that it likes having us between it’s walls, and so that is why the plants are thriving – the happiness and love of us in this house is nurturing to them.
As woo-woo as that sounds, I tend to agree. And not just because I am a little woo-woo myself.
I love this house.
On paper it makes no sense. It is nowhere near the sort of house I thought I would end up in. It isn’t a cottage or a traditional farmhouse or particularly old (built in 1971, it is the newest house we have ever lived in) But I loved it the moment I came through the doors. And I think somehow it knew. And it loved me, loved us, back.
There is an amazing contentment that comes each time I let go of my expectations for what things should be like, or what I should want, and instead open my hands to what is and all the gifts that come with that.
This house was not expected. According to every house I have ever pined for or ever pinned, I should not have ended up here.
But I did. And it is the most wondrous gift.
So now I grow plants. Inside and outside. In the ground and in pots and buckets and burlap bags. On the porch and in the kitchen and out in the garden.
And they thrive and grow and stretch their little stems towards the sun.
And so do I.