I am the Queen of Putter. And the garden is my realm. I believe this was a hidden genetic trait that emerged in my actions in my late 40s.

As a teenager I was quite critical of my father’s seemingly senseless weeding. We had a fairly large yard and he would be on hands and knees, totally focussed on pulling every little invader, for hours at a time.

I fully came to this behavior in Spokane, WA and Newport, OR when I found myself at the end of a 16 year hospice career that had left me emotionally exhausted and totally spent. I hung on to this demanding work for “a little longer” with a beginning garden habit that involved planting flowers, weeding, and watering for hours on end. It provided me with grounding, focus, a sense of accomplishment and a balance of hope and joy in a sea of death and grief. It has morphed into a passion and has restored my soul.

I just became a Master Gardener here in New Mexico and am fiercely experimenting to become proficient at growing things in the desert. Cacti, of course, are a no-brainer but I have now accomplished pomegranates, a multitude of roses, vines and succulents. My neighbors believe me to be a bit crazy and watch for my next attempt at something new. There have been many failures!

As I reflect on my Dad with Father’s Day coming, I honor his memory as I now fully “get” that over many years of his wife’s (my mom’s) dying the garden puttering was about solace, finding hope in the despair and keeping him grounded when everything was falling apart.

No surprise that through most of this pandemic to date you can find me in back weeding, watering and planting.

Stay safe and may your garden grow!