Roses vs. Daylilies

Daylilies are the embodiment of summer. My grandfather used to have huge gardens full, and he gave me some several years ago. They make me happy.

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Clothes my mother folded at my house because she was horrified felt sorry for me: 54

Hours we have spent in the past six days sitting on my sister’s deck (the baby bluebirds flew away!): 20

My mother said she heard one time that there are two types of gardeners: Rose gardeners and Daylily gardeners.

Rose gardeners prepare the soil, carefully plant the roses, spray them with pest deterrents, prune them and cut them back for the winter. If they see black spot, they take extreme measures and baby the roses. When there are extravagant blooms, they cut off the best ones and display them inside.

Daylily gardeners stick the plants in the ground and say, “Grow.”

My grandfather is a master gardener and a big talker. He says he’s grumpy with his plants and pretends to throw them out in the side yard.

Then, when no one can see how much he loves them, he carefully digs a hole just the right amount deep and knows just the right amount of soil conditioner to use. His gardens look like the type my parents used to parade us through as kids; the ones where I whined and said it was hot and could we please go somewhere fun.

The proof is in the pudding: you have never eaten a tomato as good as a tomato from my grandfather’s garden.

I told my mom that maybe my grandfather is a Rose gardener masquerading as a Daylily gardener.

But the more I think about it, a master gardener must be both: the type of person who prepares and creates the best possible conditions and coddles while still allowing nature to take its course.

There is a magic about people who have a feel for gardening; they sense the right amounts, commune with the plants. When they run their fingers along the leafy tomato plants or flowering camelias, the foliage seems to lean into the caress.

I started this post thinking that I was a Daylily sort of writer, one who doesn’t coddle but allows nature to take its course. But as I continued to write, I realized that through strong editing, I need to develop my Rose-type skills. Pruning and babying and fertilizing and treating the black spot.

Which type of writer are you? How much do you rely on intuition, and how much do you fuss over your work to create a beautiful finished product?


Magical Thinking Isn’t All Bad

Candy is dandy. And magical.

Bingo games I’ve ever won. Ever.: 0

Sweepstakes prizes I’ve won as an adult: at least 7

People who will tell you we have no control over our luck: 33.2 million

I’m not delusional. I’m just saying. The very same people who will say that we shouldn’t plan because God laughs, ha ha ha, will turn right around and knock on wood. We’re a very superstitious bunch for all of our evolving into Science and Technology Central.

Let me tell you a story. One day, maybe six months ago, I went out to get the mail. There was a box inside. Had I ordered checks? No. Contacts? No. In this day and age of email and nonsensical oil change coupons invading my mailbox, I have to admit to a little bit of excitement. A box? For me?

It was heavy. As I took it inside and cut it open, I found that I had won something. And here I was, thinking that I hadn’t even entered anything. Oh, silly, silly me.

My grandmother, always full of magical things, is an avid sweepstaker. As I was unloading the dishwasher, checking out bargains at the grocery store and starting to feel Groundhog Day-like, she was filling out address labels and mailing things and arranging for me to win something.

What was it? Second prize for Drawing 2 in the Wonka Rocks Your World Sweepstakes. The SweetTarts staring back at me were worth $23.40. I mean, come on, the day just got way better after that.

First of all, I had a whole drugstore-sized box of candy only for me. Second of all, I did not have to share. Wait, that’s the same thing.

When I was a kid I remember going to the fish camp (if you are not from the South and don’t know about fish camps, you must drive down and try some popcorn shrimp, hush puppies and sweet tea) and getting one of the empty cardboard candy boxes near the exit. While my grandfather paid for our meal, my sister and I got to peruse the kid-height multi-colored candy selection. Lineberger’s Fish Camp had every kind of candy you could imagine, and even a few you couldn’t. The smells of chocolate and pure sugar in the lobby battled with the fried batter/hot oil smell from the kitchen.

I used to imagine what it would be like to fill up that box with one of everything. My grandmother was pretty into candy, and she wasn’t too stingy. But I can’t say we ever got to fill it up.

Now, I had an entire box of SweetTarts. Naturally, I started eating them right away. They will only rot your teeth out if you never brush your teeth. And I do. So I stuffed one of those rolls o’ SweetTarts in my purse and headed out on the town (okay. To Target).  I put one roll in my car and one near the home phone. You never know when the nibbles will strike.

Maybe from there on out, the days were the same as ever. Maybe I still unloaded the dishwasher and went for runs and called people and checked the clearance racks at Target. But I was smiling a lot as I did it. People smiled back. I got good service. And the kingdom was peaceful.

Try magical thinking. Believe that you can control your own fate. Enter things. Smile at people. Wish them good things, like that maybe they’ll win a box of their favorite candy worth $23.40. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place?