Four years ago I started a handful of miniscule alpine strawberry seeds under a grow light on a dreary February day. I dreamed of my own strawberry patch with everbearing plants that I could walk out and pick for months of the year.

Of course, it didn’t go quite like that. One of the plantings got accidentally weeded. Only a couple of others survived. There would be sporadic berries, but not the haul I imagined while staring at the seed catalog.

This year has been different. A magnificent oak’s lifespan ended in a crash and the resulting hole in the canopy made room for sunlight. And the alpine strawberries ran and spread. And the Gasana everbearing strawberries that I added to the beds last spring came back in force. And the right amount of rain fell. And now, each day, my daughter asks if she can check to see if there are any strawberries.

My kids make checking the strawberry patch part of their daily ritual. They bring one for me, eat as many as they want, and check on the big ones they’ve been patiently monitoring to ripen fully. Today, we found one that snails had been enjoying. So we left it for them.

The strawberries bring me as much joy as I had imagined that day when spring felt so far away. Even if it took longer than I expected. Isn’t that the way gardening goes?

Published by Caroline Mitchell Carrico

I am a writer, mom, and museum enthusiast in Memphis. Also a fan of reading all the words, cooking all the vegetables, and watching all my kids' soccer games.

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