Island Flower Cart

A vivid moment – I was eight years old, cradling a dead houseplant in my lap wondering where I’d gone wrong. An aunt, coming by for a visit, said in passing, “You sure don’t have a green thumb, Honey. Yours is definitely brown!” And I knew exactly what she meant – anything I’d try to grow would die. (Please know that this aunt of mine would be horrified to think she said this to me so long ago.) And so I grew this sad moment into a tragedy. I loved plants! I’d visit nurseries and public green houses and parks wherever I could find them. I’d yearn over the luscious swaths of color and growth, then say to myself, “Don’t even try, you’ll just kill them.”
Fast forward to my next pivotal plant moment… I was 46 years old wandering through the local nursery when a woman with a cart full of plants stopped next to me. She smiled my way and I felt compelled to say, “I wish I could grow plants like you but I have a brown thumb.” As vivid as my aunt’s spur of the moment comment, I remember that moment. The woman chuckled and turned to look at me carefully. “You know, growing plants is like anything else. If you want it badly enough, you learn how its done. That’s how we’ve all become gardeners. Research, talk to gardeners, read books, join garden groups if you like – gardeners love sharing their wisdom. But above all, BEGIN. Try. Start with something easy. Fail but DON’T STOP.” Then she lay her hand on my arm and leaned forward and said softly, “That’s what a beautiful Master Gardener told me years ago when I believed that silliness myself.”
And so I did begin. Today I give away or sell flowers just for the joy of watching the smiles unfold. Now I, too, encourage anyone longing for the title “Gardener.”
by Mary Jo Oxrieder
Watercolor & Ink
Raven Rocks Studio

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