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by Eleanor Tylbor
by Eleanor Tylbor


Eleanor Tylbor has been a freelance writer and columnist for more than twenty years. A resident of Laval, Quebec, Canada, she began her career as a columnist writing for weekly papers and continues to freelance a column covering local news for “The Chomedy News.”

She has also freelanced articles for Internet sites in addition to providing human-interest pieces for various dailies, and is a monthly contributor to the site, sharing her humorous observations and gardening-angst with gardening aficionados.

She is now into balcony gardening.

Blog The (Somewhat) Complete Gardener

May 20, 2012

Today I bought a geranium plant. In the scheme of things and being that this is Spring, it's not an unusual thing to do. Condo living is great but it's missing one vital component. I'm missing my garden.

While shopping at the supermarket, the front of the store was devoted to wooden display racks filled to capacity with annuals and hanging plants. Since it was an unusually warm sunny day, people were feeling the need to get down and dirty and feel the earth beneath their fingers. I know exactly how they feel. Somehow, placing the plant on my still empty balcony gave me a feeling of kinship with gardeners and brought back memories of my garden.

Let me state for the record that my garden was not a display out of House and Gardens. Far from it. In fact there were more deaths than there were survivors. The wine-colored iris's growing in a bed on the side of the house could always be counted in the survivor column. They were my pride and joy because they required little care. Neighbors and people passing by frequently asked the secret in acquiring the magnificent floral display. Nothing - absolutely nothing other than separating the roots periodically. Mother Nature did the rest.

It's those rose bushes that tug at my heart. At this time of the year, I would be pondering whether the two remaining hybrid teas made it through the winter and/or whether they should be pulled. They were frequently in the in-between stage making a decision on their viability difficult. I've always been of the belief that roses in particular make slaves of their human caretakers having to primp, preen and fuss over them and in the end, they thank us by croaking. It was always touch and go and in a good year they would give me three roses each. In a bad year, they were afflicted black mold on their leaves but I loved them dearly. They are frequently in my thoughts.

I miss digging my fingers in the earth and feeling the soil sift through my fingers while preparing a home for new flowers and annuals. Our front lawn was composed primarily of dandelion leaves, which gave it a green shade and in dandelion season, the lawn was a mass of yellow flowers. It was an un-win-able war trying to eradicate them and in the end, we conceded victory. In retrospect, perhaps we should have tried making dandelion wine or dandelion salad, since dandelion leaves sell at the supermarket. Had they asked us, we would have gladly donated ours for free.

It's been five years since we sold our house but the pull of the garden still seduces my senses. It's obvious to onlookers that we were gardeners since we embellish our balcony with hanging plants in addition to filling planters that we had brought with us, with annuals. There is no way I could part with my "pussycat" planter with the smiling black cat peeking out from behind trailing flowers. Neither could I leave the hand-made wooden planter behind given to me by my next door neighbor. In the end, you takes your planting as you gets it. Meanwhile, there's always the geranium.

"In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends." - Kozuko Okakura

(Eleanor Tylbor shares her thoughts on things gardening in her gardening blog, ”The Somewhat Complete Gardener” )

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