It’s the “coolest” day of the first heat wave of summer in San Diego. 87 F at my home this afternoon. And it seems the only casualties in my garden are some struggling tomato plants, and some potted flowers. But I do not think it is my fault; I think these tomatoes were not strong plants from the get-go. Against my better judgement, I picked them up at the big “box” home improvement store and not my normal nursery. Wally would have had these tomatoes out in the sun from day 1. The weakest would have been turned to mulch and these taken home would be thriving. There are a couple plants in my neighbor’s yard between driveway and the property line, ignored and out of sight – and they thrive! Getting home early on a Friday afternoon, I’ve received some education in fertilizer and plant nutrition from another neighbor and longtime friend. And of course, sharing a few afternoon beers together help the gardening lessons.
Plant nutrition and gardening seems today to be a good metaphor for our first summer as Empty Nest parents. We raised three strong kids into independent, self-sustaining adults. Each has matured and thrived. One did so mostly on his own since high school graduation, and is now married and living across the country. A second took flight a few years into his twenties, but with periodic watering and revitalizing in visits with Mom, has a good profession and healthy outlook for the future. The youngest launched into a nursing career, while taking some extra nurturing and strengthening at home, wilted a little but recovered, and left the nest mid-way into his twenties, He is finding his way. Now we have dogs that need extra attention. Dogs are a lot like plants. One rescued later in life – Comet – is energized by brisk walks, “special” time and snacks; periodically, he gets very needy and wants some special attention. Dexter, on the other hand has been nurtured since a puppy with the kids generally around, walked, socialized, and given lots of attention by me and my group of hiking buddies.
Now my only concern with spreading the proper fertilizer, is seeing what becomes available for harvest. Kids, dogs, vegetables and spouses thriving during the year is my goal. And that is not a load of fertilizer.