A gardening friend available at all hours is a friend indeed

    The 11 p.m. text messaging exchange I was having with Róisín took an abrupt turn from solving the issue of a peregrine falcon that was stalking her chickens to the very important matter of which plant I should incorporate into a planter design I was working on.
    A couple minutes later, a new text appeared on my phone. Having gone back through thousands of messages to the same time last year, she found a similar discussion and shared our thoughts from the time: Torenia or verbena would be good options.
    Róisín is the kind of gardening friend who every gardener needs. To fully grasp this level of dedication, you need to know that this exchange happened a couple days ago, I don’t yet own the pot for this container design and, since Róisín lives in Maine, it was midnight her time.
    We were friends before we discovered that we shared a mutual interest in gardening, but these days we talk more about plants than we do about anything else in our lives. And it turns out that we’ve been having pretty much the same conversations at the same time every year for the last 15 years.
    We are both frustrated at the dearth of large, reasonably priced pots on the market and perpetually in search of creative container combinations. Garden design in both our gardens is decided by our two-person committee, one text at a time. At this point, we’re basically a garden design firm with just two clients who also happen to be the owners.
    The most important thing we do for one another is step in to quickly quash bad ideas. Gardeners are prone to impractical dreams and aspirations, particularly in mid-winter when our imaginations are allowed to run free and memory of how much work we already have to do in our gardens is not so fresh. Everyone needs a friend who will rein them in before the idea takes root and bring a fellow gardener back to reality.
    We have enough respect for each other’s gardening prowess that when one of us tells the other something is just not meant to be we trust that and move on.  
    Róisín and I also share gardening triumphs. When a frog showed up in a newly created pond in her backyard last year, a project we’d been talking about for over a year, I was the first to hear the news of his arrival. Likewise, when the first flowers on my purple bell vine emerged in a somewhat scandalous shape, I immediately asked her if she knew they would look like that. (She didn’t.)
    No one is more grateful for this friendship than our husbands, who would be subjected to late-night discussions on the merits of Annabelle hydrangeas versus Limelight hydrangea when mass planted on a southeastern-facing corner were it not for the gardening kinship we share.
    So gardeners, get yourself a gardening friend. Not just a person who happens to garden, but the kind of kindred spirit who will text you back in the middle of the night to tell you that the lavender petunia is a better choice than the pink one.

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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