My husband slipped under the covers. “I hope the rain doesn’t wash away the seed I’ve planted.”
Immersed in All Creatures Great and Small by the late James Herriot, I managed “me too,” and turned the page.
An hour later, full of Herriot’s humor and the vet’s passion for animals, I turned out the light. “I hope the rain doesn’t wash away Mel’s seed” rolled over in my mind.
Rye is expensive. And so is the cost for removing our two remaining fields of geriatric, weedy lavender plants and tilling the soil.
Working an itsy-bitsy farm, Mel and I have often discussed the plight of successful husbandry. The cost of machinery, labor, livestock feed and medicine, for instance.
As we experienced this past spring, untimely weather causes insomnia and shortfalls in profits.
I fell asleep with wind whipping the gutters and great respect for kind weather, faithful farmers, and skilled veterinarians.
Long before dawn, I awoke with gladioli corms on my mind. Gladioli and I go way back to the hill above the McCoy Bottom, the valley where I spent the first four years of my life in absolute bliss.
After my parents moved my sisters and me to Detroit in 1954, we’d return to the Bottom for summer vacations. There, up on the hill bloomed a colorful patch of tall glads.
The luscious fragrance of rain, earth, and flower returned every summer without human effort. The summer between third and fourth grade, I stood taller than the blooming blades.
By the time Mel and I bought our first home in 1975, roses dominated garden fashion in Berkley, Michigan. A former swamp, my Jackson-Perkins dry-root roses lapped up the soil’s nutrients and blossomed all summer and fall.
Beguiled, I assumed I’d inherited my mother’s green thumb.
What’s worse, young and gullible, a gardener I respected said, “Glads are good for funeral arrangements and that’s about it.”
Thirty some years later, older and wiser, I sat up in bed this morning and thought “Bah!”
Be careful to whom you listen.
When my kittens jumped up and slept by my feet, I felt the same sense of serenity as when I recall the gladioli patch on the Kentucky hilltop.
Oh yes, like pets, the corms are needy little things. In Michigan’s climate you must plant them in spring and lift them in fall as you do dahlia tubers.
Allow the corms to dehydrate into shriveled faces before storing them in a cardboard box to overwinter in a cool, dry place.
Dear Reader, I’ve read the weather forecast for the next two weeks. Tomorrow, Monday, October 28, is the only sunny day to reach 60 degrees, they say.
At bedtime, I’ll take another good dose of All Creatures Great and Small for insomnia. In the morning, after the kittens pay their visit and the dew dries a bit, I’ll lift gladioli corms.
Again, try my hand at good husbandry for the beauty and benefits of serenity.
By the way, the seed didn’t wash away!
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