Janet bids farewell — to the column, not her garden

Note: This column is written by Janet DelTurco’s granddaughter, Brittany Szablewski.

There are a few things you should know. The first is that Janet (also known in our family as Nan) has had a mild stroke. Thankfully, she is recovering more every day.

The next thing that you should know is I do not claim to be a gardener. More than once, she has made reference to my black thumb, and she does not tell a lie. I have, in fact, kept plants alive, but only hostas, which she decided that I couldn’t kill, even if I tried.

As many people know when facing an unexpected health emergency, there are things that get overlooked. Five days in the hospital put our family into survival mode and the only thing on our minds was getting her the absolute best care possible. Upon a joyous return to Tiffin, the overlooked duties are slowly starting to get some attention.

While talking about future plans, an awful thought washed over me. The seedlings. She spends nearly every waking moment planning for and tending to her plants and gardens. I was, quite honestly, afraid to even look at the seedlings and plants kept in the sunroom.

After mustering some courage, I forced myself to look. It was worse than I imagined. The once-growing seedlings lay on the soil. The beautiful healthy green foliage of the plants dry and curled. Our Christmas Ivy that was bought with so much happiness and excitement for the season was withered away, with a pile of crispy leaves on the table. It was sad. It would have broken her heart. It was then and there that I knew what I had to do. I had to save those plants.

After several days of watering and lights being put on and off at the correct times, they started to perk up a little. If you have heard the saying about how good it is to talk to plants, believe me when I say screaming, crying and begging works well, also!

During a recent chat with Nan, she said she supposes all of the plants will have died by now, and if so it will be OK because she will just start all over again.

That is the way with her. Always looking for the next thing to do. Her gardens and her plants are such a large part of what she enjoys. They are her thing.

Everyone should be so lucky as to know what their passion is. To know what brings them joy and happiness. She may not realize it right now, but keeping her happy and safe and healthy is my thing. She is truly my best friend. So, off to the dirt I go! I won’t likely be able to save them all, but these plants are getting the very best I have to offer them.

I am hoping they will do as they are told. Those time-consuming needy little green things are going to grow into the best garden she has ever had. My black thumbs are going green after all.

The last thing that you should know is in a message from Janet. She wants to thank you for the friendships over the years and the opportunity to share her love of gardening with you all. She has truly enjoyed writing for The Advertiser-Tribune. With a lot of thought she has decided that this will be her last article. It’s time to spend a little more time with her family and friends, and a whole lot more time out in the garden.

Janet DelTurco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program.

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