It was a Saturday and Labor Day had been upon us.
Mac was out in the garden with the tiller preparing the beds for our pomegranate bushes. He was so proud of them, as he grew them himself this past spring, from seed.
We laugh about the efforts from last year because he says I sabotaged him at every turn. See, he prepared this nice long planter with lovely compost and spread the pomegranate seed over it, then covered it with a layer of compost and set it next to the shed to get plenty of sunlight and make sure of water. That was February of 2010.
I came along and saw this lovely planter of great looking dirt, went into the garden shed and got my little sack of Hibiscus seed I’d gathered. I took the trowel and worked up the the dirt, spread my seed and covered them gently with a blanket of potting mix. I stood back and admired my work.
In April, I was agog at all the hibiscus plants and wondered at Mac’s constant comment that they didn’t look much like pomegranates. Puzzled, I was thinking “why would hibiscus look like pomegranate?”
Out loud I said, “Well if they looked like cotton plants or even okra plants I wouldn’t be surprised. You know, since they are the same family?”
He only gave me that “get out of here” look … you know the one. Later on it dawned on me that he really thought he had grown pomegranates. I wasn’t sure how to tell him that he (we) had grown hibiscus. I mean, couldn’t he tell from the leaves? Why did he keep going over to the planter and talking to himself?
I picked out spots all around the place where I wanted them to be planted. As we sat on the porch drinking our first cup of coffee, I brought up the identity crisis his pomegranate plants were having.
“When did you plant your seed, then? You didn’t mention it to me at the time, ” I said (sipping carefully, eyes cutting to my right).
He thought about it for a bit, then said to me, “You know I put them in there early February. I can’t figure out why they look so much like cotton plants. ” He shook his head, as though to clear that dark thought from his mind.
I drew one leg under me, admiring the red nail polish on my toenails, nodded wisely and said, “That could be because someone overplanted your planter with hibiscus.”
I think they heard his shout of “WHAT?” clear into downtown Jefferson. I tried to explain that I had seen the planter, it was so nicely prepared and that I thought about how great it would be to propagate the lovely Hibiscus he had brought me from Alabama that I just went ahead and took it over. I never dreamed that he had planted a thing in it. Really.
Yep, that was his answer! I swear, I didn’t know the planter was loaded! Ummm … sort of puts me in mind of the old song, I Didn’t know the Gun was Loaded. But it is the truth I tell you.
So anyway, there was a planter that sat mutely by the south wall of the shed once again and fresh compost had been added by the master of the house ONCE AGAIN.
But now, signs were stuck in beside it that dared the housemouse to TOUCH ONE GRAIN OF DIRT THEREIN! Signs like crucifixes were fixed to the pot as though I were a vampire and This Means You and GO AWAY proliferated the outer parameters. I looked at him in all innocence and once more insisted that I DIDN’T KNOW.
His answer? “This time you do!”
Yes, I suppose I did! But anyway, I hope you are as proud of his endeavors as I am! Here they are.
Not Hibiscus plants, but lovely well tended grown from seed Pomegranate bushes! Properly tended and transplanted into larger cells and ready to be put into the bed.
He has green fingers, you see. All those years as a Sailor and who knew he was meant to be a farmer all along.
— Sandi McBride is a resident of Jefferson who blogs regularly and enjoys her garden and her furry and feathered friends. She is a wife and mother of two sons.