Gardening with a Black Thumb: Joys of an Early Spring

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Residing in rural Wisconsin, by day Eileen Troemel work as a clerical worker and part-time student. At night she spends her time writing. Raised on a farm, she has a love for nature and is inspired by the beauty and power she finds there. Nature and her just don’t get along though as she has the blackest of black thumbs.

In Wisconsin like other places around the U.S., we’ve had unseasonably warm weather. We had over a week of 80-plus-degree days. Monday when I left for work I backed out of my garage and stopped short to just stare. My rhododendron bush was covered in flowers. They are stunning.

Rhododendron bush

We planted this bush the summer after we bought our house, so about four years ago. After we tore out the pine bushes, this bush became the centerpiece to our front flower bed. Monday was gray and dreary with drizzling rain. To back out of the garage and see the pop of color on such a gray day was just a wonderful pick-me-up. 

Tuesday night when I got home from work my daughter was on our back porch and demanded I come to the porch. There, by our back deck, was an array of beautiful daffodils and pink hyacinth. Again it was still gray and gloomy here, so this pop of color was yet another uplifting sight at the end of a long work day.  


My daughter wandered the yard taking pictures for me. The lavender that a friend gave me to transplant is blooming beautifully. Our “bucket” lilac bush has blooms on it again this year. I call it our bucket bush because it sat in a bucket for a year before we planted it. It survived and now is the only bush that has had blooms on it. The other two lilac bushes we have are a year younger and haven’t bloomed yet. I’m hoping that this year they will. 

Lilac bush

All of these plants have been put in the ground, and I’ve taken very good care of them by completely ignoring them. Okay, I don’t ignore them when they are blooming and looking stellar. Mother Nature is doing a fine job with them, and my black thumb is staying away from them.

Lavender and daffodils

Pink hyacinth


Photos By Vicki Troemel

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