Saturday, July 20, 2019


I have definitely stepped into another world. Yesterday, the high temperature in London was 69º F, a far cry from the miserable heat of a Florida summer. I actually had to put on a sweatshirt because I was cold. Mind-blowing!

I'm wrestling with jet-lag. I stayed awake through the day yesterday, although I struggled as evening wore on. I tried to stay busy with laundry and cleaning and other little tasks, which kept me from nodding off, and finally went to bed at about 9:30 p.m. And then I had trouble falling asleep -- go figure! I lay there feeling overtired and guilty for living so far from my 82-year-old mom, and after about an hour I dropped off and was unconscious all night until now. I'm still a little sleep-dazed.

When I got home yesterday, Dave couldn't wait to show me the garden. Everything looks almost insanely lush out there. The butterfly bushes are huge, the globe thistles are full of golf-ball-sized flowers, the inulas are as tall as me. The dahlias I grew from seed have lots of flowers and are big, healthy bushes. And the orange cosmos, which I hadn't seen yet, are blooming (above). Remember those two pathetic seedlings?

When I was in Florida, Dave sent me a picture of a beautiful deep pink flower blooming near our back door. We couldn't figure out what it was -- he thought it came up from our wildflower seeds. But I realized at 4 a.m. one morning (for some reason) that it's a hollyhock, one that he'd bought on a whim and we planted and then forgot about. Sad when you can't even remember what you've put in the ground.

When I was at Mom's I found some old pictures -- she has hundreds in envelopes in her closet, and she doesn't look at them, so she gave a few to me. This one shows me in the garden behind our rented house in Maryland in 1969, the year my dad was finishing his Ph.D. at the university there. I was 2 1/2 and obsessed with "watewing" the plants (pronounce it like "watering" but with a w sound). Don't you love my wellies? I wish I had those now. Well, a bigger version.

We drove to California that year to visit my dad's family, and I apparently threw a conniption in some little town in Indiana when I saw wilting plants in the median of a roadway. I wanted to get out and water them. I don't remember this, of course, but I've heard the story many times.

I also used to nurture my inner gardener at my great-grandmother's house in Avon Park, Florida. My brother and I would pick flowers in her semi-tropical yard -- hibiscus, bleeding heart (clerodendrum) and others. I know there's a picture somewhere of us standing next to her holding our bouquets, but I couldn't find it on this trip. So, yeah, I've been plant-aware a long time!


Yorkshire Pudding said...

I must admit that I have never encountered the word "conniption" before. I had to look it up. As for that photograph of you at two and a half - it is simply wonderful.

e said...

I love the vibrant yellow color of that bloom and your cute photo. I envy your cooler temps. We had quite the drenching here last night but by the time the sun comes up, so will the heat.Why would anyone want to live in the equivalent of an oven?

Mary said...

Ah. University of Maryland--my alma mater. Still here but farther south than College Park. Funny, my childhood was spent in UK--kind of the reverse of you starting out in the US and ending up in the UK. I do miss all the glorious flowers to be found in a British garden or along a hedgerow. Hope your jet-lag resolves quickly.

Ms. Moon said...

Aw. I love the image of you watewing. And the picture! I can just see you throwing a little hissy fit because you knew those plants in the median needed some care. I'm so glad you're in a place where you can indulge your need to grow things.

The Bug said...

Well aren't you adorable! I probably spent my time at 2 1/2 trying to figure out how to get rid of my brother (he would have been an infant then).

It's extra hot in NC too. I need to go get groceries & I should do it NOW before it gets too hot, but of course I'm reading blogs instead.

Red said...

Hey look at those bib overalls for your gardening work!

Anonymous said...

I love that photo of you when you were young. Always the plant-loving gardener.

ellen abbott said...

how nice to come back to a lush blooming garden. it's so dry here that I spend a big chunk of my day watering.

Sharon said...

What a great photo of you watering the plants. You must have been born with that gardening gene. The date on the photo made me think that you were just a tiny lad when the astronauts walked on the moon that same year. I love that top photo too! You captured that bee beautifully.

Jennifer said...

This heatwave in the southeast is no joke! I'm glad for you that you're back to a more temperate climate. Your flowers are beautiful.

Nice picture of baby Steve tending his plants! So cute!

Catalyst said...

I, too, envy your temperatures in the 60's. See. I told you so. Interesting how you were so gardening-conscious as a young lad and carried it through to the present.

Sabine said...

There's the proof, you are a born gardener, at least when it comes to watering. I hope you have overcome most of the jetlag by now!

Enjoy the cool(ish) summer in London, we are looking into the next heatwave here in the Rhine valley. 37°C by Tuesday.

jenny_o said...

Ahh! The Cuteness! Your gardening roots go way back, it seems.

We're getting the edge of the heatwave that's centered in the USA and it's like a sauna. I'm trying to keep my cognitively declining and persnickety mother both cool and happy, which is a tall order.

Steve Reed said...

YP: It's a good word, isn't it? Often used in the South, I believe.

E: Well, at least you're getting those daily rains. That's how all the wild creatures survive a Florida summer!

Mary: That IS funny -- our respective reverse migrations!

Ms. Moon: The best part of living where we do is the garden, without a doubt.

Bug: My brother didn't exist yet when I was that age, but he showed up about a year later!

Red: I know! Between the overalls and the shoes I definitely looked the part, didn't I?

Robin: It is funny how I paid attention to plants and their needs at such a young age. I don't know how I even knew to put water on them. My parents weren't really gardeners.

Ellen: At least in Florida we were getting rain every day, which makes the heat bearable.

Sharon: Yes! It was developed right around the time of the moon landing, wasn't it?

Jennifer: Definitely not a joke! I hope you're all faring OK!

Catalyst: It IS interesting. I honestly have no idea where it came from.

Sabine: The jetlag is better! We're due to get that same heatwave (I think) in a few days.

Jenny-O: Sorry you're getting caught by the heat -- I'd have thought you'd be far enough north to escape it!