Hubby calls it expensive. I’m talking about my hobbies over the years. I’ve dabbled in my fair share. Horses and showing, shooting and hunting, fishing, sailing, starting businesses, selling businesses, showing my dog, raising snakes and iguanas, refinishing stuff, ceramics, flower arranging, growing roses, culinary classes, gardening, showing my dog again, training my dog to track, yadda yadda yadda, the list goes on.
It drives my husband crazy. I jump feet first into whatever it is at the moment that captures my fancy and immerse myself until I have mastered it or in some cases, just become bored by it all. But for me, there is always something exciting around the corner. I am always involved in something. I can’t not be.
A few years ago I made the decision to re-populate my back yard with an abundance of flowering containers and flower beds. I’ve only had moderate luck growing things. Stuff dies on me. Usually because I forget to water it. Or move it out of the sun. Basically, I have never possessed a green thumb. But when I decided to redo my garden, I also made the decision to educate myself and make the commitment to actually care for the flora.
My kids and hubby shook their heads. “You kill everything, mom!”
I’d show them. And I did. I researched everything. I love research. LOVE. IT! And I paid attention to those flowers. I gave them what they needed, not what I thought they wanted. Despite my best intentions, and due diligence, I lost about half of my plants and flowers that first year. But the following spring I was ready to give it another go, and by the time early summer rolled around, my garden was worthy of the cover of Home and Garden. I’d stand out front in the mornings with a cup of coffee and gloat as I gazed upon my luscious begonias, fat purple hydrangeas, and velvety lilies. I did the same out back, but more. My bougainvilleas were two stories tall and in constant righteous bloom. My angel’s trumpet was glorious. My containers of impatients, dahlias, and daisies overfloweth. It was amazing to behold. And I did it. But I had help. My father-in-law. Dad and I spent hours and hours selecting the right plants, soil and fertilizer. But when dad passed away that summer, my garden died with him. I didn’t care about the flowers. I didn’t care about much of anything.
The following spring, I had no urge to plant. Not one seed. Not one bloom. So, I didn’t. The left overs from the previous year barely eeked out an existence in my yard. But by fall, I realized I missed my garden. I missed my quiet time. I missed spending that time with myself. And by its pathetic appearance, my garden missed me too. But it was too late to plant. So I stared planning for this spring. I’ve mapped out where my container veggie garden is going. I’ve begun to collect begonia and dahlia bulbs. I’m picking up a half a dozen half wine barrels Friday for my tomatoes and dwarf lemon trees. But my prize project this spring is to populate the area around my koi pond with orchids.
I have become obsessed with orchids! It started in October in Kauai. There’s this great little place called Orchid Alley in Kapa’a. I just knew as I talked to the grower that my climate would be perfect for many types of orchids! I visualized my yard bursting with exotic fragrant blooms! I wanted it so bad I could taste it! I felt like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. I was going to get my Red Ryder no matter what!
I think that’s what he said. I wasn’t paying attention. Since then, I have become obsessed with learning everything I can about orchids. Everything! I’ve been in contact with local growers. I’ve been to one orchid show. I’m going to another next weekend and in February, the mother of all orchid shows is being held in San Francisco. Whoo hoo! Virtually my backyard! How fortuitous is that? (not so much for hubby, he groaned when I told him)
Of course I couldn’t help myself. I’ve already purchased a few orchids. Ok, six in the last couple of months.
And guess what? They’re all in bloom! And staying in bloom. Some have lovely fragrances while others are just beautiful to gaze upon. Each one has a different requirement and each one is thriving. They look healthy and happy. I love making my daily rounds and I can’t wait to add to my collection. I’m chomping at the bit for this weather to break so I can start working outside.
I find great solace in caring for those lovelies. It isn’t hard either. In fact, orchids are damn easy. It’s just knowing what they want. Their likes and dislikes, and respecting it. Just like in any relationship.
And while my husband continues to roll his eyes, he doesn’t get on my case about the time and money spent. My orchids keep me occupied. They make me happy. I look at taking care of them as indoor gardening for now. I can clear my head when I tend my plants. I work plot points out, or character issues or realize I need to go back and add a pertinent fact I overlooked. Gardening gives me peace. It zenifies my world. In so doing, it makes life for those around me livable. I’m no fun to be around when I’m stressing.
I realized that I have always had some outlet, something that was just mine. Something that challenged me, and gave me a great sense of accomplishment when I became successful at it. I’m not sure which part of the process I like better: the journey, or sipping the coffee once it all comes to fruition. I think it’s a combination of both. It certainly can be said for my writing. I love to research and develop my characters and plot. Then there is the challenge of the actual writing of the story. But when I get that book in my hands for the first time, it’s damn satisfying, and I can’t wait to do it all over again!
What about you? Do you have a hobby you’re passionate about?