After years of living in dorms, off-campus housing, and cheap apartments, it was a thrill to move into my very first home. I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, and I don’t know a poplar from a pin oak, but I do love things that grow from the earth. I love to look at them, photograph them, and imagine my backyard full of them.
In each place that I’ve lived, one of my favorite things to do that first growing season is marvel at the things someone else had the good sense to plant before me. We moved into our first home in May, and when Mike’s parents came to visit us in June, I was thrilled to show off the three showy hydrangeas the previous owner had planted on the side of the house. Every summer they would droop from the weight of their bountiful blooms. I promised myself that wherever I lived, I would always have a hydrangea nearby. I also promised myself that we would never leave a home without planting something beautiful for someone else to enjoy. We moved a few years later, leaving a tiny but might Japanese maple for the new owners to love.
We looked at houses in Indiana during what is surely the best season for noses and eyes: lilac season. If huffing lilac blossoms is an addiction, sign me up for Lilac Lovers Anonymous. While Mike worried about the frivolous details like good floor plans and open kitchens, I picked houses based on whether or not they had a lilac bush.
Thankfully we found one that had both a thriving lilac bush and a satisfactory kitchen. It was at this house that I discovered my love of growing things that were both pretty and edible. By the time we said goodbye the yard was home to a raised bed that overflows with tomatoes, beds of dill that friends coveted, hollyhocks as tall as NBA players, and yes … hydrangeas that we planted.
We bought our new home in the dead of winter. Other than the mighty oak, we hadn’t a clue what was growing in our yard. Maybe you don’t believe in signs, but I do. Through the crazy string of circumstances that led us to this home, I couldn’t help but feel in those first few days that we were meant to be in this home until our children were grown and gone. And then spring came and I discovered that, as barren branches bloomed, we were the proud owners of two kinds of trees I’ve longed for since I first saw them: a star magnolia and a dogwood. It was as if they were just waiting to welcome us home.
During the time we’ve been Hoosiers, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with many of Indiana’s farming families. While I do my part to make things pretty, they have the enormous task of planting things that sustain and feed us. Indiana’s Family of Farmers is a proud sponsor of this year’s Earth Day Indiana. This is a fabulous day in downtown Indianapolis, perfect for the entire family. Come down to White River State Park this Saturday, April 27th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and see how Indiana’s farmers do their part to take care of us and the Earth. The kids can even plant “popcorn” seeds and take them home!
While it won’t be rows of corn or waves of amber grain, we will plant many things to please both ourselves and the generations that follow. And while they may not all be useful, they will be lovely. Sometimes, that’s all a person needs to call a place a home.
I am proud to be an Indiana’s Family of Farmers Ambassador. This post was sponsored by IFOF. All thoughts and opinions are mine.