I recently put a notice on our online community bulletin board, offering clumps of black-eyed susans and other plants that I was dividing and thinning. Over the following days (and weeks), various folks arranged to come by to pick up plants. Some of them were known friends, and some were new to me. I began to look forward to the encounters. With the friends, there was talk and catching up, and even some unexpected professional connections. A conversation in the rain, shovel in hand, led to a meeting with exciting implications for the future. With the new folks, there was the pleasure of sharing with a stranger, or remembering an old acquaintance. After our conversation, one neighbor returned with two big bags of basil from her garden for me; I’ll remember her in the winter when I eat the pesto I made and froze from that treasure. Another mailed me a copy of her sister’s history of the town. She seemed so pleased with the plants I gave her, and somewhat uncomfortable accepting them without a return favor. Along with the black-eyed susans, I sent a family home with aloe and spider plant babies, each of the three children having chosen a special plant. They had brought me a container of watermelon chunks, and a toothpick to eat them with, because it was a hot day.
At times when I feel adrift and am missing the routine relationships of a structured work day, these fleeting human interactions become meaningful and precious. The black-eyed susans will grow stronger and brighter when replanted with more space for their roots and leaves, both in my garden and in others’. They remind me that sharing myself, opening up rather than hiding out, helps me blossom, too. As parts of my garden bloom around houses all over town, so perhaps will some new friendships.
Really love the picture. Wish I could have come by to dig up a shovel full of flowers and then have a cup of tea with you.
I want very much to plant these this year. My husband just planted echinacea for me but I want to add these in