Margaret Roach shares her personal gardening experience and how it became a spiritual journey that has saved her many times over the year. Recorded in late March 2020, this episode of A Way to Garden, Roach and Ken Druse dives deep into using your garden as a refuge in trying times.
Publish Date: Feb 16, 2021
Yeah, yeah. I mean, for me, I was in my twenties, and, you know, I mean, you know the story. Most of my listeners know the story, you know, as my twenties. My father had died the next year. My mother, who was 49 was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. I don't even think they called it that at that time, but that was the idea. And so there I was called home for my to care for my widowed mother. And that unfolded this strange time in my young life. And I was close to home. I had to stay close to home during the days I had a job at night. Someone else came and cared for her at night. And what are you going to do? I mean, as I will say how you can only watch so much daytime TV when you're 24 or 25 years old. And so I got a garden book. Someone gave me Crockett's Victory Garden and I, which seems that expression Victory garden seems appropriate right now. And I and I, you know, and I just started doing the stuff in it, like, you know, I started going to the local garden center and whatever it said, I just bought those seeds or that plant or, you know, and just did these crazy experiments and obviously killed most of the things in the early going. You know, I didn't know what I was doing, but that was my entree was during a very dark time in my younger life. Um, so it's been a refuge for me. Um, you know, a number of times it's seen me through. I have often said my gardens has saved me many times. So, um, you know, I find I'm thinking of of spending more time outside because I can't go anywhere at the moment. Um, and all of my events, I'm sure, like yours have been postponed at least through May. And I'm sure through June and whatever as well. Um, are you thinking of doing mawr? Are you? I'm trying to assign myself some projects, things I've put off because usually I have garden visitors and I can't make a mess and leave the mess there for weeks while I, you know, do a big renovation or something. And I'm thinking, Well, this is the time, Margaret, nobody's coming, right? Well, we already talked about me shopping, and I haven't really gotten that into that. But I probably will. Usually I shop for something because I see something and then I track it down online. And then that leads me. Oh, they have a minimum order. Oh, and then there's five plants and you only wanted one. And then there's a shipping savings. If you buy $149 where the plants Not that I've ever done that, but it's almost time for me to spruce up the house plants, and that's something I could do. And it's something I I I should do, you know, do a house plant rehab. Every day I run to light cart to see who's changed or what seed has sprouted. You know that miracle? I'm never tired of that miracle. So there's that. I planted some perennials yesterday that came in the mail, and they were dormant. Eso that's happening already, and that's going to continue. I got a bare root cherry tree that I'm growing in a pot. I don't know why, right, Well, but whatever gets you through, I mean, I think Right, Um, so you said I loved you said Who's changed? You went to the light cart, um, to look at your all your little baby. You said Who? You didn't say. What's he said, Who on? I think of them the same way. To me, plants are not some inanimate objects. Some it right? You know, I I think of them as Aziz Who? Not what? Um, but so you said houseplant rehab. So this is a time for that. And we have time because we're home and we have time to notice and we can. That's a good suggestion for me because a lot of years I get so hectic, Try and get ready for the open gardens. I don't do my re potting of those house plants on their way out the door for the summer. You know what I mean? I skip it, so that's a really good one. We like to do it when they're on their way out, which is late, usually mid May. Wouldn't it be great to for me to clean the leaves with a sponge and a couple of drops of dish soap in a court of warm water and just clean off the dust? But Also, some of them get a little city mold. And there's all sorts of insects that can actually being removed with a sponge and a tiny bit of soap and water. So the things that have that are evergreen, which is most of the house plants and things that have firm leaves like Citrus and Camelia. If you grow things like that and full of denture, which you can go almost anywhere, some of the philodendron e put my hand under the leaf and just rub the top. You know, just brush the sponge over and almost everything comes right off. The plants look so much better. And then they say, Thank you. Yeah. Um, yeah, because I mean, spending a winter indoors is not really their thing. And there's all that unseen dust that moves around in the air with the heating system. When the heating systems on in any house, right? And, you know, you find that fine dust like my Clive Ia's all have that by this time of year and they need a nice, um, tending eso you have. You have a Camelia um You grow hoyas, don't you? I do. Oh, yes. There's one at the kitchen window. And luckily, that's very close to the kitchen sink. Because if a plant small enough, it will go right in the kitchen sink and get watched off there or you know you have your Clive is you probably take into the shower. Yeah, I dio dio, but, um, yeah, um, but the Hoyas, I've never grown them. I've never grown them. Some Hoyas needed greenhouse. And what we can talk about what they are. They used to be part of the milkweed family, but I think they've separated them now. But they're semi succulent. The thick leaves, they're pretty slow growing. Except in the spring when they kind of shoot. I have one wonderful one called Hoya Carry I and I started with one leaf in a pot and it stayed that way for about five years, once in a pause many years ago and then all of a sudden it just exploded. And now it's Ah, very big Piney plant. I have it on a wreath circle, you know, stuck in this. It's a long story, but I wound it round and round, and it has beautiful flowers when it blooms in the summer, and it has heart shaped leaves. I have another one that has purple flowers. They don't flower very often, and it's important not to trim it. Trim where the flowers come because it blooms on spurs. Kind of like an apple tree, and it will bloom over and over again on the same spurs. So you have to not cut those back. So don't dead head, so to speak. Exactly. Well, the flowers fall off and they're fragrant. Almost all of them on. If you do cut it or trim it, it will bleed. White latex, like a lot of succulents and milkweed. Milk reads. Right, right, right, right. Where do you? I mean, a person wanted to think about adopting a way. Where would they look? I mean, who did you get yours from? Friends or what? Well, I got the one with the carry I with one single leave at a flower show in Virginia. Uh, probably 17 years ago, maybe more. And it was like $2.50 was expensive for one leave. Uh, but low. Jeez, greenhouses. I mentioned before. They have some Giordano Hoyas. I think it's called, but if you look online there, people who specialize in Hoyas, and when you read about them, some of them make a really good house plants because they could take low humidity, and some of them want lots of humidity. The leaves air different on every single one, as are the flowers that bloom in clusters. It's kind of hard to describe their like stars in these fireworks clusters, and some of them smell like cinnamon and Horoya carry. I smells kind of like clothes and tomato and other.