My yard is a similar story. Years ago, someone obviously took great care in planting all manner of things there. Every so often, there is a great explosion of color and aroma. My über-gardener uncle came by when I first moved in and identified each of the plants for me. But, like guests at a long-ago party, their names now escape me. They go about their business and I go about mine, but now and then they enter my consciousness, and I'm always glad to see them.
Last year, some friends gave me a gift certificate to a local garden store. It is further testament to my horticultural slackness that it took me nine months to redeem it. It's a little overwhelming to be a non-plant guy in a totally plant-oriented environment. Kind of like walking into a graduate-level trigonometry course when you've just learned how to add.
I crept around the store stealthily, my face tight with intent so as to avoid betraying utter ineptitude. I regarded some bulbs thoughtfully. The directions seemed easy enough. I grabbed some day lilies and stuck them under my arm. I knew exactly where they would go, just outside my back door. Perfect. A gardenia caught my eye. It would replace the long-dead bush, a skeletal framework of twigs, out front. I stuck it under my other arm. With my left hand, I grabbed a bag of grass seed. Though I had no idea if grass would actually grow in the few bare patches around my yard, it seemed worth a shot. Finally, a pack of pumpkin seeds. Why not?
I could barely contain myself. Despite the late hour, I went home and planted everything. I removed the skeletal framework of twigs and put in the gardenia. I scattered grass seed liberally. I dug holes for the day lilies. I made mounds for the pumpkin seeds.
Lo and behold, one month later, the gardenia is blooming. Grass grows in the bare spots. Day lilies flourish outside the back door. And a few little fledgling pumpkin plants have popped up from their mounds.
Perhaps I have a green thumb after all.