My friend Shay and I have an understanding. She gets overwhelmed thinking about decorating her house, picking out fabrics, matching trims, finding accessories, etc. So, I help her.
Actually, I have no idea what I'm doing, but she makes me feel like I do, acting as if I have saved her decor, listening wide-eyed to my sage advice.
I don't have the heart to tell her I'm playing it by ear as we go. I just bluff and pray hard that I don't waste her money . . . destroy her room . . . ruin her life. It's a big responsibility.
And my gift to her.
I, on the other hand, get overwhelmed by anything non-human that grows. Well . . . maybe not easy things like mold or mildew, but hard things like plants!!
This spring after I helped Shay pick out fabrics for her guest room; she reciprocated by determining to assist me in filling some planters for my back porch.
She's great at planters and ferns and perennial beds . . . basically anything rooted into soil. This is her window box after planting. Just wait until the end of the summer. It will blow your socks off!!
I become a blubbering fool when walking in to a nursery and beginning to consider seasons of bloom, charting the light, matching up plants with similar water needs, dead-heading, fertilizing, and drainage. Good grief, I haven't had to put that much thought into raising my children!!
She helps me pick out flowers. She checks out the little plastic how-to-care-for tags. She consults the sales assistants. She talks me through my breathing when I begin to hyperventilate with the minutiae of it all.
She even taught me about the "thriller," "filler," and "spiller" principle of planting. I thought she was a flat-out genius. Until I learned that it's such a common concept that the plant companies have started tagging their plants with those designations.
She arranged my planters, trying to remain calm as I bumbled my way through planting.
Here it is . . . one of my two finished planters. Dracena, lantana, upright geraniums, cascading geraniums, ivy, and asparagus fern. Positively dreamy!
Now if all planets align, the sun rays come in at the right angle, and no one shakes the container, maybe they will actually survive and thrive.
And there is also the matter of remembering to water it! Children tell you when they're thirsty. With plants, I'm somehow supposed to remember to do this on my own.
This summer, I must now keep me hydrated, keep children hydrated, keep pets hydrated, and now, somehow, keep these plants hydrated. (More deep and slow breathing.)
Shay is confident I can do it. She's like that.
I believe the dusty blue of the bedspread will go with the blue in her oriental rug . . . and that the lamp looks right . . . and that using antique kitchen scales as an accessory really is "in."
Sharing our gifts, believing in each other, cheering each other on. It's the blessing of friendship.