Black Cat

Going not gentle into that middle age.

Black Thumb Gardening

Filed under: Black Thumb Gardening — 6 June 2006 @ 5:41 pm

There are folks who love to post photos of their gorgeous gardens full of perfect, colorful flowers and perfect, ripe vegetables and perfect, green lawns and bushes and trees. They gush about how their lives are more meaningful because they garden. They speak wistfully of the next time they can tear themselves away from their computers to rush outside and pull that single pesky weed that somehow snuck into Eden, repot that lush herbal basil plant that has now grown too large for its container, add compost and earthworms to the already rich soil to nourish the new crop of veggies they’re about to plant, build a stone wall to define a special area of hanging plants and rhododendrons, or put in a pond for the Koi that will add ambience to the peaceful idyll of their garden. I am not one of those.

I hate to garden. This is rather unfortunate because we have a huge garden. A really huge garden. We told the landlord (alright, *I* told the landlord, my DH disavows ever having said any such words) that we loved to garden and that we’d be glad to take care of the property, in exchange for a reduction in rent. I figured, just how difficult could this be?

Did I mention that it’s huge?

Did I also mention that it rains a lot in this part of the world? Did I mention that I don’t like to get wet? I don’t like to get wet. I take a shower once a day and wash my hands as needed. That’s it. Water is for drinking. I see no reason to leave the solid earth and jump into a pile of water. Swimming doesn’t sound like fun at all. You get wet when you swim. No thank you. Walking (or working) in the rain doesn’t make me feel romantic. It’s dark and dreary. And wet.

It rains a lot here in this part of the world. I think the garden faeries are peeking at my calendar. When I decide that I’ll have time on Thursday to drag myself outside to do some of that dreadful thankless work, the garden faeries talk to the Wetter Frosch (the weather man in Germany) and splot! the heavens open up. I don’t DO rain.

I also don’t do seasons. I just don’t understand how things that are dead for six months of the year will, in the space of two weeks in spring, become green. I don’t understand how bare earth can become thick with waist-tall weeds overnight. I don’t understand how flowers can decide to be here last year but not this year. I don’t understand what this particular plant *IS* anyway — is it something valuable that the former resident lovingly planted or is it a weed that I’m supposed to pull immediately so that it doesn’t take over the garden?

I admit to becoming very discouraged when the rhododendrons that I planted with visions of gorgeous blooms on huge bushes to hide the compost heap from the passers-by on the street can become ugly dead stubby things in a couple of weeks, because they were food for the moles underground and for the snails or something malevolent aboveground.

I get discouraged when a friend gives me some plants to put into the earth, and my DH pulls them up or mows them over when he drags himself outside to grudgingly do his duty a couple of times a year with the lawnmower. He recognizes even less than I do the difference between weeds and wanted plants. I have now forbidden him from pulling up any plant that isn’t sticking up between the paving stones. I haven’t even had the plants long enough to know what they’re called or what they’ll look like when they do whatever it is they’re famous for, and he pulls them up.

However, there’s the matter of the jungle that grows out there. My DH suggests that we hire a young whippersnapper to do the work. I cry that it sort of defeats the idea of having a reduction in rent. Sigh. It’s gotta be done.

So I thought that I’d write about my conflicts with these concepts of earth tending and passage of time and plant identification and “I’d really rather be doing something else”. From time to time I expect to take a picture or two and post it with info about where in my garden I found it, with the idea that I will have a pictorial diary of the same plants throughout the year, and maybe someday I’ll not only have a clue about the name of the plant, but have some idea of what to expect from it during different times of the year. Because right now it’s just a huge mess of green things. And a few dead things. And a lot of thankless work.

Sigh. I’m scheduled to go out again tomorrow afternoon. Now, you garden faeries don’t go talking to the Wetter Frosch, you hear?

««« §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§ »»»


  1. minkymomo:

    If this will be a “gardening for gardening haters”, you will have one very devoted reader.

    Luther Burbank said, “A flower is an educated weed.”
    I say, “Embrace ignorance!”

  2. judy:

    My DH maintains that he mows the lawn 4 times a year, which is more than “a couple of times a year”. But he doesn’t deny the part about doing it grudgingly.

    Yes, this will be a “gardening for gardening haters” theme on this blog. Welcome!

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>