It started innocently enough: A Hibiscus here, a Geranium there.
Then came the Roses, the Lantanas, the Birds of Paradise.
Don’t even get me started on succulents!
My family thinks I may have a problem.
Sure, I spend a lot of time talking about my plants.
Or talking to my plants.
Or talking to my plants about other plants.
But I don’t have a problem.
Before heading out of town recently, I asked the kids, “So, who wants to take care of my babies?”
Wow, Parker and Colby can really move!
Quincey, now in her third trimester, wasn’t as nimble.
“I just don’t have four hours a day to spare,” she said.
It’s like three hours, tops.
I returned to packing.
Bag of succulents (check)
Yep, all normal here.
Last week was Mother’s Day and Quincey bought me the most thoughtful gift:
A subscription to a Succulent of the Month club.
This club kicks “Jelly of the Month Club’s” ass!
When my first succulent arrived, I tore open the box and discovered a petite, yet perky little guy named Dedos (Sedium Pachyphyllum, when he’s feeling formal).
“Isn’t this exciting?” I asked my husband.
His response: “Don’t you think you have enough plants?”
YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH PLANTS!
Also, I don’t have a problem.
Fortunately, there’s one person who shares my affinity for horticulture.* My mom.
Like me, she’s a plant enabler enthusiast.
Besides discussing plants, we both enjoy exploring our local nursery.
The amount of time I spend there is staggering. On more than one occasion, I’ve been mistaken as an employee…
by an employee.
Is it because I occasionally throw on an apron and lead a workshop on drought-resistant foliage?
Who can say?
I think what has my family most concerned is the time I spend in my garden, not planting, not weeding, just staring.
It wasn’t long ago that my friend Kim told me how her husband loves to stand in their backyard and stare at their fruit trees. At the time, I replied, “That’s weird.”
But look at me now…
Standing in my garden, just me, a shovel and a whole lot of plants.
I wasn’t by myself.
Right behind me, seated in a semicircle, was my family.
Well, look who’s excited about today’s home garden tour!
I dove right in, starting with the origin of the plant (Portugal), and then peppering them with some questions. “Does anybody know how much sun an Oleander needs?”
Not one hand shot up.
My family was avoiding my gaze. Instead, they were looking at one another, eyebrows raised, lips pursed, clearly uninterested in the care and growth of an Oleander.
And then I saw the pamphlets.
Parker picked up the shovel.
Are they going to bury me alive?
My husband tapped the seat next to him. “Honey, it’s time to walk away from the Portuguese plant.”
He WAS paying attention!
I may have a problem.
* The study of plants. I’m assuming you knew that, but some of my family members** didn’t.
** Quincey and Colby
— January Gordon Ornellas
January Gordon Ornellas is a comedy writer whose stories include everything from colonoscopies to triathlons (equally torturous). Her article, “Rookie’s Triathlon Lessons,” appeared in the LA Times (June 2019). Two of her other stories, “Gobble, Gobble” and “Almost Taken,” were recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Laughter is the Best Medicine (April 2020). She is currently working on a book, My Nest Runneth Over. January also enjoys writing for her blog (midlifebloomer.com), traveling and spending time with her husband and two adult daughters.