I have always been a sucker for the underdog. In the movies, I love the story where the weakling, the geek, the wallflower, the fill-in-the-blank, comes of age, achieves self-realization, and conquers against all odds. It’s like in the film Rudy, in which Daniel Ruettiger is told that he is too small to play football for the University of Notre Dame. Everyone has to root for the guy. That’s probably part of the reason I chose my profession, school social work. You really can’t ever give up. You just have to keep finding new ways to help, so that everyone can have their moment when they can be hoisted onto the team’s shoulders.
The same philosophy has followed me into the garden. As soon as seeds begin to sprout in the greenhouse or ground, the experts say it’s time to weed out any plants that are not keeping up. Huh??? Doesn’t everyone need a chance or two or three? Maybe some plants are slow growers. Maybe they need some extra time to reach their full potential. Maybe they could flourish with some differentiated propagation.
Believe me, I am no Mother Teresa of the yard. I have had my moments when I have lost it with a plant. Remind me to tell you about the sunflowers and the squirrels — definitely a Mommie Dearest moment. It’s just that there are times, many times, when I attribute human emotions to plants. Who wants to have a legacy of never bloomed?