Posted by: bree1972 | March 22, 2012

Smelling Like Dirt 3/23/2012

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood

I love that quote.  With the warm weather upon us, my hands itch to open bags of potting soil.  I want to place clay shards or rocks at the bottom of pretty pots, then cover them with rich, black soil.  I long to gently scoop out a small indention in that soil and place a budding geranium, or a couple of petunia plants, or one brightly-colored shasta daisy into its new home.  I can see myself covering the roots as snugly as a mother placing a blanket over a toddler going down for a nap.  I love giving the newly potted plant it’s first drink of water, then sitting it on a table or railing on the deck, so it can be kissed by the sun each morning.

I’ve mentioned every spring since we began spending our summers on the Island how much I miss the ritual I’ve described above.  Oh, I could still do it.  But several weeks later, I’d be either leaving the plants to die in the summer’s heat, or trying to find folks to “adopt” them, like they were puppies left behind when an owner moves away. 

So instead, I rode down to the Cobb nursery and walked up and down the aisles and smiled at the hundreds of hanging baskets, potted plants and trays of just-started flowers.  I did that Wednesday and came home happy to have spent an hour or so admiring the riotous beauty in three greenhouses and smelling the damp-soil-perfumed air.  And just before I left, I couldn’t keep myself from buying a few small pots of geraniums.  When I got home, I placed them around on the deck and laughed at my inability to totaling by-pass planting season.  In a few weeks, I’ll be looking for homes for these red “puppies”, but until then, I’ll sure enjoy taking care of them.

Winter’s over.  It’s time to smell like dirt at the end of the day.

Have a great weekend!  God bless.



  1. I totally agree!!. It’s time! 🙂

  2. I`ll be glad to baby sit; if you don`t mind a few dead babies when you get back. I tend to have a “black” thumb.

    • LOL – they’re all yours, Marianne. They’ll live longer with you than they would on the deck with no water!

  3. Really like your stone pot! And I agree – that smell is intoxicating. Just can’t convince myself to plant yet (afraid of it getting frosted out later). May have to get some pansies, if I can find any. That’s worth a trip to the greenhouse!

  4. Take them north with you. Then you can be just like the Geranium Cottage and the Grand are–all decorated with lovely red Geraniums.
    Or you can plant lots of perennials so they will always be there for your Georgia spring. 🙂

  5. Love the stone pot! The bright red of the geranium is perfect in it. I thought about messing with my outdoor planters yesterday but knew if I did it this early, I’d put the kibosh on all this nice weather. Maybe I’ll check out the Pansy selection like Barb mentioned… that wouldn’t be too risky…

  6. I have one from last year coming back around in my side flower bed.

    • Thanks for adopting my geraniums last year, Dawn. I knew they’d be in good hands with you!

  7. Better be careful Brenda….now that I know you like smelling like dirt, I bet I could find some for you to work in at the hotel! We have a few geraniums that need to be taken care of!!

    • LOL – I know you, Mary. You’ll have them all in the pots before I even set foot on the Island. But if not, I’m ready!

  8. There’s nothing prettier, to me anyway, than a red geranium. My grandmother always had them in pots on her front porch, and now they’re one of my favorites. That unique smell, the robust red petals…just love them. (And of course they remind me of the Grand too – lots of good memories all wrapped up in one special flower!)

  9. Thanks to my dog, Bear, I have spots of grass that are several inches taller than the rest of the grass. I guess he is telling me that it is time to get out there and mow the yard!

  10. I know those long dog spots! We’ve got those!!!

  11. Your quote and story made me think of a book you might like. It’s a collection of short gardening stories called “Green Thoughts … A Writer in the Garden” by Eleanor Perenyi. It’s an oldie but goodie (early 80s perhaps?) and it would be great to leave lying around to pick up when you have a quick minute and are craving your flowers. 🙂

    • Thanks, Elizabeth! I will check on that one!

  12. Brenda,

    My mother has been gone since December 1, 1983. It’s hard for me to believe it’s been that long. She is buried in the North Star Cemetery (Isn’t that a wonderful name for a cemetery?) in Gratiot County Michigan. Every year on Memorial weekend, I take red geraniums to plant by her head stone. She always loved them, so I’ll keep taking them to honor her. She was such a great lady and wonderful, loving mother.

    • Red geraniums are my favorite flower, Lowell. I have to smile every time I see one. I bet your mom smiles too.

  13. I didn’t really start gardening in ernest until my children left home. I think there is a nuturing thing about caring for gardens. As my husband comes to dislike mowing grass more and more, more gardens appear. There is something satisfying about digging in the soil. You described it beautifully.

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