I did not inherit my Grandmother’s green thumb. Alas, the extent of my gardening skills is buying basil plants from Trader Joe’s in the spring, plunking them into clay pots filled with soil, and watering them. Somewhat to my surprise, they are bright and abundant and flavorful—often well into October.

My basil’s success (or the fact that it doesn’t shrivel and die) is largely due to good soil from the Grange. The rich, composty stuff that kind of smells when you upend it from its unwieldy bag.  It’s all in the soil. I take zero credit for my basil.
You might be wondering why I called this post “Growing Roses” if I can barely keep a store-bought basil start alive. Well, I grow supernatural roses, if you will. And from seed, no less.
In short—as in short enough to fit on the back of a seed packet: Life is full of shit. You can either sit in and complain about the smell, or you can choose to grow roses in it.
Me? After trying both options through many seasons, I far prefer growing roses. And though I recommend this choice highly, I would add to this “seed packet’s” suggestions for care, along with the proper watering, pruning, et cetera: once you’ve made this choice—once you set your attitude out in full sunshine, don’t be surprised if you encounter people who want to stand over your new start, casting over it the shadow of their own unhappiness.
Years ago, I stood in a kitchen, cooking with a friend and her sister. I shared a story of a lesson I’d learned from a bad circumstance and how it had turned into something beautiful. My friends sister turned to me and said, “Well, don’t you just shit and it comes out roses.”
Nope. But I have learned to grow ‘em. And my secret isn’t Miracle-Gro or Garden Organics. It’s choice.
That moment in my friend’s kitchen, I saw how many connections are established in commiseration. Group lament, even when staked with humorous sarcasm, is stenchy decay at best.
But spend enough time with others who are growing roses, and before you know it, you’ve got a riotous swath of them, and the air begins to fill with their sweet fragrance.
Just as I can learn to keep plants healthy and happy in my garden if I really want to, I can learn to keep my attitude healthy and happy if I really want to. Even when things are shitty—or especially when they are.
May we all choose to cultivate green thumbs in the spirit.
Happy gardening,

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