Do you know how to touch plants? Or maybe you just know how to roller skate. Or maybe your hands feel at home on a piano. When I watch @joshcopuspottery (my husband!) make pots, I can see that his hands know how to touch clay. Maybe I’m talking about talent? But I think it’s something more fundamental than that. Something more ancient. Talent is complicated because I think it involves good taste and also the perceptions of other people. Knowing how to touch something is kind of primal, instinctual. I’m not sure it amounts to success — but certainly great satisfaction.
I feel that way in the field sometimes — like my hands just know what to do. Maybe it’s genetic? I’m not sure. But I like the idea that I might have inherited a kinetic aptitude from my grandmother who grew bananas and coffee in Atlanta and my great grandfather who grew the finest wholesale carnations in the Philadelphia area. And my mom and dad, ambitious gardeners themselves. I don’t know if it means anything, but it feels comforting sometimes.
I got on this train of thought because the photo I’m showing you is leftovers from deadheading. Deadheading is a process that encourages plants to continue to bloom. I cut off blown flower (with yellow centers) and crooked stems so that the plant can send all it’s energy to better buds. Dead heading is a really hard thing for me to teach other people. Sometimes I want to say, “Well, you just look at it, and then you cut off the pieces it needs you to cut off.” But that’s terrible. Of course you don’t just look at it. There is a knowing that has to happen — and it has to happen fast or you’ll spend all day pontificating a row of dahlias. Who has a good way of explaining deadheading?
These blooms are dahlia Sweet Nathalie, by the way!