Coleus Preparing for Garden (3)

Most of the gardeners I’ve met are people of vision and faith, people with a future-facing disposition. Certainly setbacks and adversities are encountered in the garden, but gardeners learn, adjust, and hope for a better outcome in the next go around. No wonder I like being around such optimists who lower my blood pressure, reduce my stress level, and possibly even raise my good cholesterol level.

I married a person like that though at the time I had no idea she would take to gardening. I was smitten, swept away by the complete package, and gardening was the last thing on my thoughts. I can recall in full HD her appearance at the back door of the sanctuary in her wedding finery. One word escaped my lips, “Wow!” On May 16th we celebrate our thirty-ninth anniversary as a couple, and her appearing still triggers that reaction.

Coleus from cuttings 2020 (5)

Much of my love of gardening comes in working with Shawn to try her mixes and matches, to implement her garden designs, and to share in the joy as stuff grows around us. And yes, even to dig up and move those huge hydrangea bushes for the umpteenth time. Good times indeed. We’ve discovered that Shawn likes the leaves of the coleus plant, and those tender beauties wave proudly at passing neighbors from the bed at the end of the driveway.

Coleus Preparing for Garden (4)

Coleuses need regular watering to survive the heat of summer and droopy leaves are sure signs that a drink is in order. As the blooms crown the plants late in the season we find an entourage of bumble bees hovering to fill their buckets with nectar. Alas, the cold weather stops the show. Coleuses, being annual plants, wither, and their brilliant colors fade to brown. And each season we buy more.

In winter/spring of 2019 we grew coleuses from seeds with a trickle of success, and most of the resulting plants did well. Our collection was then supplemented with a few purchases from the farmers market which I will continue to make as long as I have health and funds. Local farmers and growers need the support of local consumers. Besides, a seasoned gardener can always find room for one more plant, right?

As summer 2019 faded Shawn began another experiment. She took cuttings from the coleus plants scattered in our gardens, rooted them in a jar in the window sill and potted them as indoor plants for the winter. That added color to the living room during the dismal days of cold and early nighttime. In March she took cuttings from these plants and our window sills once again sported jars with coleuses. And guess what? Roots began to form. In short order Shawn had a bumper crop ready to pot up for the summer garden.

Coleus from cuttings 2020 (1)

Coleus from cuttings 2020 (3)

Yes, we have flats of coleuses in the living room adorning the plant shelves that hosted tomatoes and basil and peppers a few months ago. And in coming days those flats will move outside to harden the plants in preparation for planting in the bed by the driveway.

Coleus Preparing for Garden (2)

Planning ahead? Living with an eye to the future? Yep! I plan to hang on to my favorite gardener.

Happy anniversary, Darling!