The Call


I’ve been pondering gardens quite a bit during the last week. There is something deep within me that yearns to stick my hands into dark, moist earth and smell its fragrance. There is something about being around plants that energizes me. There is something hope-filled about seeing the first sprouts of germinated seeds.

I live in an apartment in a big city. I am surrounded by office buildings and all other trappings of urban life. Buses thunder by my front steps, literally fifteen feet from my front door. My windows rattle when jets take off at a nearby airport.

I do not have a yard, balcony or patio for any sort of garden. Even my window sills are too narrow for a proper planter and plants scorch in the southern exposure of these windows anyway. I tried potted ferns one time in the dark recessess of my apartment, but it’s too warm and dry when I’m not at home to keep the windows open and the air circulating. Having any sort of greenery seems hopeless where I live. (Oh, and community garden plots are not within my budget at this time).

Still I have this longing….. Up until my parents’ generation, my kin have been tilling the soil since our first barbarian ancestors crawled out of the forests of Europe to settle down on the land. This call to the earth is a part of my DNA.

So, with all the talk of gardens, wild or otherwise, I found myself drawn to a garden center this weekend. I wandered up and down the rows, lusting after the geranium plantlings and herb pots. I handled glazed pottery and imagined how they would look on my kitchen table. I even considered cacti to handle the wicked sunlight. Finally, I succumbed to temptation and bought a very small window planter, a bag of potting soil, and packages of Italian parsley and Lemon Balm seeds. (I don’t know why Lemon Balm– I just liked the soothing sound of the name). I carefully prepared the soil and sowed the seeds according to package instructions. The planter is sitting on my kitchen table with slightly tilted venetian blinds to filter the light. I have no idea if the seeds will even germinate. This may be one more foiled attempt at gardening in my apartment, but at least I had to try.

I can’t afford not to.

Lori G. (c) 2007


9 responses »

  1. Lori, I wish you luck with your gardening. I know the feeling of needing to connect with plants. As I tell my children when I draft them to help me in the flower beds, gardening is good for the soul. I’m glad you got some seeds. I like the name of lemon balm, too. Another name I like is apple-scented geranium – shades of Anne of Green Gables.

  2. Good luck with the herbs! I once started a sotry 1000 tomato plants and a recycled house- because it was true.It is hard to imagine living without a garden. You know often hanging ferns will do well in the bathroom/shower because of the moisture from the shower. This may also be a good place to put your pot of herbs when you are not home.

  3. I shall keep my fingers crossed that these are the first of many plants you will find that will flourish for you! I sent Irish wild flower seeds to a friend in Arizona and they did well in her yard…..What about Mediterranean flowers??? Of course Italian herbs should be a good bet….

  4. lemon balm or lemon verbena produces the most gorgeous smell when you crush the leaves. Don’t be tempted to put it in the same pot as your parsley for it will take over … you have been warned. Plants always do well in bathrooms – they love the warm, damp atmosphere – I hope your seeds sprout, surprise and delight you

  5. Happy gardening Lori! I understand the call to greenery. herbs are a lovely thing to grow. You could also sprout seeds which are packed full of nutrients – real superfoods – when they sprout ( use a seed sprouter which you can buy possibly in health food stores or the like and there are a host of recommended seeds/beans to spout) and are great in salads and stirfries. Run your own kitchen garden from your windowsill!

  6. I know exactly, Lori, how you feel. I long too, for greenery, but living here in the desert, it is all but impossible for plants to thrive, except of course for cactai and a few water resisitant species, which aren’t, to my mind anyway, very pretty. It’s just too hot outside. And inside, with the air conditioning on 24/7, it’s too dry. Good luck with your plants…let us know how they do.

  7. O, Lori, I do so hope your garden grows. Isn’t it fascinating how we seem to have this in-born need to plant and tend growing things. We have lemon balm growing wild around our yard and it will take over- I think it may be in the mint family? We cut and dry it and use it for making tea. Do you have some sort of cover over the planter while the seeds are trying to germinate? Some plastic or something? I think it’s good to keep them damp-ish till they sprout. Please keep us informed and maybe some pictures?

  8. Plants are the balm of the soul. And lemon balm does just that–it grows fast, loves incredible heat, thrives even in the steamy DC summers. You can make a wonderful tea from it, or use the small leaves in salad or fruit salad. Enjoy! I’m watching my orchid, and hoping against all hope it will bloom this year.

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