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  • Kristan Higgins

The third child

Updated: May 2, 2022


Not to brag or anything, but we have a pretty incredible flower garden. This is thanks to two things: we can’t grow grass to save our lives, and I’m married to an Irishman, and the Irish love their gardens.

When we were first in this house, I was the gardener, because McIrish was too busy with his two jobs to do much in the way of recreation. So I bought a starter garden kit and went to town, and it was quite nice. I’d plant (my favorite) and weed (not so much) and water (always fun). I had a Zen attitude toward the plants, thanks to my sweet little Irish mother-in-law, who is a master gardener. Some things thrive, some don’t. If a plant wasn’t working out, I’d give it the old college try and nurture it, and if that failed, I’d dig it up and toss it in the valley (where inevitably, it would do just fine).

We have what I call the junk garden…plants that I didn’t really care for but that were thriving. Bee balm, tiger lilies, catmint…that’s actually turned out to be quite pretty.


But in the past couple of years, when McIrish gave up his second job in order to (in his words) “take care of you,” the garden has become splendid. “Taking care of you” consists of sifting dirt, fertilizing plants, deadheading, watering, relocating, and weeding. I ask my husband, “Can you go to the market today?” and he gets this pinched look on his face. “I was gonna work in the garden,” he says, and I sigh and continue typing.

The kids call the garden “Daddy’s Third Child.” I think that says it all. But everyone who comes to visit comments on the garden’s beauty, and at any time from April through October, I can pick a bouquet of beautiful flowers. Sitting on the porch has never been so relaxing.


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