despite my best efforts

I am not a gardener. I am no gardener. I am a very bad gardener.

I am constantly digging up (and pointlessly replacing) dead basil plants on my kitchen window sill. I love fresh basil, and even remember to water it, since – hey!, it’s indoors! But somehow the little bushes don’t stand up to the enthusiastic picking to which I so nonchalantly subject them. The ones in my parents’ garden are just delighted to make pestos and capreses from May til September. Virginia basil bushes (and chives, and thyme) EXPLODE. Mine put in a noble showing, and quietly expire in a despondent sort of way. Then I buy new plants, which last about three weeks, and the cycle continues.

And then there’s the outdoor colony. I planted a little bed of mums in our backyard “plot” about five weeks ago. And this is what happened. Oh, look, there’s even a huge weed in that picture. How embarrassing. I just . . . sort of . . . forget about the flowers? I am an “out of sight, out of mind” gardener. Or else I figure, “Grass grows! Bushes grow! We don’t water those, so do I really need to water the flower beds?” (Manifestly, I do.) Why do I confess this ecological mistreatment?

BECAUSE I DID THE SAME THING LAST YEAR AND LOOKIT WHAT HAPPENED. Next to the withered-on-the-vine mum corpses, we have a mum bush. Exploding. Quite despite myself.

In fact, it’s TWO plants from last fall who, in the sticky hotwet summer months — and absent my occasional hand-wringing — apparently revived themselves, coiled together, and grew and grew and grew.

They literally spill into the sidewalk!

They reach to the sky!

And there’s more on the way!

Clearly, I am doing something right.

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