Miss Zinnia Wants A Little Piece of Earth

by Becky on November 13, 2012 · 4 comments

in Design, Food, Parenting


My younger daughter wants to grow things.  Imagining that perhaps she’ll become a landscape architect one day, she draws elaborate blueprints of gardens.  Once, just after Christmas, we wandered down to the Sherman Library and Gardens, a horticultural retreat in Corona del Mar, California.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  If there’s a more charming place, I can’t think where it might be.  We had crepes and herbal tea on one of the patios, and we wandered the gardens, stopping to read about the native plants and shrubs and flowers and what not.  (Such a great little pair of words, “what not.”)  Predictably enchanted, my girl stored up all she was seeing, and I, likewise, stored up the memory of our little outing.  She is such easy company.


We don’t have even a square inch of dirt here in Barcelona, but I found an Italian parsley plant the other day at the market and brought it home, thinking that if anyone could stop it from wilting, it would be Miss Zinnia.  Sure enough, she has babied it along, insisting that her father take her out to find potting soil and a proper pot for a home.  The pot he found at Els Encants, our favorite market.  Mr. Parsley (why the plant seems like a boy, I don’t know) lives out on our terrace now, in his new digs, where he soaks up the morning sun, with Miss Z. watering him carefully (“moisture, but not too much,” she reminds us) and monitoring his progress.

Funny, how I can’t grow a thing.  My thumb is so black you’d think it was stone cold dead. People give me plants, and without fail–and of course without meaning to!–I kill them.  So discouraging.  But so delightful to see one of my children inherit my mother’s fitness for making things grow.


I can’t wait to see the gardens that unfurl under the gentle and deft hands of Miss Zinnia.  In the meantime, inspired by something she saw in the Plaza Real down in the Gotic district of Barcelona, my girl is on the lookout for antique kitchen pots, soup cans, and anything else that could be a cozy home for a kitchen herb.  She plans to arrange her menagerie of plants just so, either out on the terrace or in our kitchen, so that we’ll have fresh herbs for our soups and sauces.  (I am better in the kitchen than I am with plants.)

Hooray for DIY-ing.  And hooray for my little nature girl. Do you have one?–a nature child, that is?

Meg November 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

I just wanted to say how much I love your blog! I have four teenagers, and I am relieved that they are fun and interesting and not horrible at all. We love books and gardens and music and traveling, too, so it’s fun to see your point of view on all those things. I have only commented once on a blog before that was not my relative’s, but I want to encourage you to keep writing, and encourage other people who love this blog to comment!

Becky November 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Meg, so fun to hear from other moms of teens! What do you guys do together?? Do you have girls, boys, a mix? I’d love for you to share ideas for a fun tradition you have. And books–what are you all reading? Hope to hear back. Have fun with your big kids! Besos.

Meg November 15, 2012 at 7:44 am

We like to camp, hike, and canoe together, but mostly we just read together, in proximity, but with our own books. My oldest son is nineteen, and like yours, will be out of the country for the next two years; his favorite author is L.E. Modesitt. My second son is seventeen, and his favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. My daughter is fourteen, and loves Georgette Heyer and bird books. My baby son is twelve, and loves anything by John Flanagan. He wrote the Ranger’s Apprentice series, which if you haven’t found yet, you are in for a treat! Our whole family read and enjoyed the Ranger’s series.

Becky November 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

Meg, we were down in Montblanc today and on the way home passed half a dozen campgrounds along the Mediterranean coast! Shall we reserve a spot for you?? I love that you read together, but with your own books. Fun that you mentioned the Ranger’s series. A nephew raves about it. I was actually thinking about downloading that once my youngest is done with the Red Pyramid series. Happy reading and sweet sleep! (We’re winding down for the evening . . .)

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