Adventures with a sprig of lavender. Special Recognition in Your Better Nature Contest.
|A Scent of Lavender
I am a terrible gardener. At times, I have been inspired to embark on a project in nature’s realm, planting something or encouraging some small corner of the garden towards prettiness, but my projects always wither in the face of nature’s refusal to cooperate with me. If there is such a thing as brown thumbs, I have them.
When my uncle George, an enthusiastic gardener who could never understand people who had no ability or ambitions in that area, gave me a cutting from his lavender bush, I knew that it was doomed to a very short life indeed. Don’t get me wrong, I was quite prepared to try with the poor, unsuspecting thing. For weeks I gave it occasional attention and managed to water it whenever it seemed appropriate.
Like all other experiments in this area, however, it never grew and was clearly approaching death through some unconscious evil influence emanating from me. I gave up and allowed the inevitable to occur without my intervention. The unloved plant withered on a window sill, seldom causing me guilt as I averted my eyes from it.
And then came a day when repentance shone on me from the summer’s height. Seized by pity for the dying cutting, I decided to give it a chance by planting it in the garden. Just by the front door there was a square patch of weeds (never had trouble growing those) which seemed a decent place for the pending experiment.
Such a small patch of ground was ideal for the limitations of my weeding and digging enthusiasm and it was soon prepared for the pathetic object of my aspiration. It was the work of a moment to plant the cutting and give it some water. After that, it was on its own and, in the course of the next few hours, I forgot all about it.
A few days later, on one of my frequent forays through the front door, coming and going as one does, I noticed the little twig still standing in its chosen spot. I bent down to check on it, expecting to have to remove it as yet another failed attempt. To my surprise, it was still alive and, indeed, boasted a crown that was clearly alive and growing. The tiny plant went immediately to my favourites file as the exception that proves the rule. I watched it daily for many weeks and it thrived and grew as long as I left it alone. Clearly, it was a plant that had no need of my ministrations.
That tiny cutting went on from there to become a large and intrusive bush pushing its way into the doorway. I delayed cutting it back a little until it was becoming quite difficult to enter and leave the house. In time it became a regular thing to sit on the doorstep occasionally, cutting away at the most ambitious offshoots. It laughed and continued to grow with a vigour so in contrast to its humble beginnings.
It was a thing of beauty too. Many were the days in summer when I would pick a few leaves as I passed, crumbling them in my fingers to sniff that wonderful aromatic scent of fresh lavender. I came to love that burgeoning lavender bush for its hardiness, surviving its first cruel introduction to the household and now bearing no grudge, generous as it is with its fragrant gifts to the passer by.
I have moved away from that house and now live in a different country. But, for all I know, that lavender bush is still there by the front door, greeting the owners in their comings and goings and filling the air with a scent that is essentially Mediterranean. As my single success in the horticultural field, I can point to it and advise those similarly afflicted with brown thumbs to try lavender, my friend. If there is a plant that can deal with our inept ministrations, it is lavender. Believe me.
Word count: 664
For Your Better Nature Contest, March 2021
Prompt: Your favorite time of year. What and why?