Starting yesterday, and for the sixth year in a row, I’m gathering up all the little wayward volunteers and spreaders in my garden, potting them up, and selling them (ok, giving them away, practically) to neighbors and passersby sometime close to the end of May. My “inventory” is at 33 pots so far; the most I ever had in one year was 750. I’ve come to grips with the fact that the paperback tour for Pig Candy might get in the way of besting that number, but I’ll do what I can.
As the years pass, I’ve fallen into something of a routine: Potting up is a treat I reserve as a reward for X number of words written or bills paid. Sometimes it’s a guilty pleasure, a sneaking away from the desk because I can’t resist a balmy, sunny afternoon. I’ll only do ten, I tell myself, and then don’t go back indoors until I’ve filled three or four times more. The trashmen get used to me scampering one block ahead of them on Wednesday mornings, chucking cast-off pots and trays into the back of my car, while the beagle pants anxiously in the front passenger seat, unsure, as always, if I’ll ever come back.
Piles of pots mysteriously show up in my driveway; people next to me in line at the food coop ask if I’ll have any of those puce hellebores this year or what about that crazy euphorbia; and my mother agrees, as usual, to be my cashier, and we debate, as usual, over whether she’ll accept a cut of the proceeds. Pin money, I say. We’ll see, she says.
I am not unaware of the Charlie Brown factor — this ain’t no White Flower Farms — and I count on my Horticultural Society Employee sister to break the news to me when I’ve potted up a tray’s worth of weeds. But I don’t care. This isn’t precision gardening: it’s full-on loving-hands-at-home, No Seedling Left Behind digging around in the dirt.