Who’s Contrary Now?

Gardening is a great joy for me.

I do not know how old I was when my mother put me to work in the garden, but I reckon I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

I’ve never outgrown the miracle that is planting a seed and later pulling up a carrot.


Gardening is therapy. It encourages busy hands and a quiet mind. There are very few things that calm my anxious brain, but gardening does that for me. While I work in the garden I do not think about STUFF. You know, STUFF. STUFF is what you don’t talk about much, you don’t write about publicly, it’s what you shouldn’t think about anyway because it is what it is and you should let it go and everything happens for a reason and only time will tell and blah blah blah so have a nice cuppa tea and a good night’s sleep but when you wake up, guess what? STUFF!

Even without the anxiety issues I’m hippie-dippy-trippy enough to buy into how Gardening is Good for your Soul.

Then there’s the exercise component. Listen, if you think gardening isn’t exercise, you simply haven’t done it.
People seem to think gardening is some old lady in a long-sleeve shirt and a big straw hat leaning over a garden bed gently placing seeds in the ground. True enough.
That’s part of it. That’s the easy part. Everyone wants to do that part. At that point, even The Mister will come put his hands in the dirt.

Before that, it’s a lot of back-breaking, shoulder-wringing, hamstring-plucking work! You have to prepare the bed.


Mother Nature does not set us up with dark rich loam, open for seeding and planting. There’s already grass, rocks, clay, sand, weeds, weeds, and weeds and roots of weeds that you — “Seriously, where are the ends of this root? China?”
Does hacking and whacking sound genteel to you? Yeah, it’s not. So you whack and hack your way to black soil and compost the rest. Sweat drips off your nose reminding you to stop and drink water. You sit down and remind yourself Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Holy Crap! is that your heartbeat?!? And you’ve done what, five square feet out of three hundred million?

But wait! There’s more!

You add enrichment. Maybe you have manure or compost or both or maybe you dunno what you’re doin, so some guy at the garden center sells you a bag of expensive super chemically enhanced magic poo for beautiful gardens. Tsk. You enrich. Drag, lift, wheel, tug, heave, pour, spread.

Rake, rake, rake. Rake with your right, then your left. Rake, rake, rake.
“Is that a fucking rock?!? Who planted that rock?!?”

A few weeks of that and you’ll learn exciting new sports injury words like rotator cuff and tennis elbow. I’m convinced my legs are sculpted from stone and my back is surely Irish. My arms, however, are like…well, they still move, so I’ll just be grateful.

Sometimes you must till. Ask The Mister to till. I will never be able to look at a tiller or think about the tiller without immediately remembering The Only Deadhead in the Hameau writing, “the war on terroir.” Am still dying of LOLZ.

You’ll never see the hard part of gardening unless you do it yourself. The media shows you some well-dressed person with a pretty basket, snipping at rosebushes that don’t even need to be cut back. Have you ever been trapped and pinned by a merciless rosebush gone wild? Well I have, many times. Lost hair and blood, but I won. Look at X now, her roses need new scaffolding…



Are you good at untying knots? If you’re not, don’t grow any vines. Vines are some of gardening’s most beautiful treasures. Oh, the lovely vines. That need to be cut back, BUT DON’T CUT THE FRESH ONES! I’m lookin at you clematis!


clematis4 sweetautumnclematis

For awhile, you have to have faith. You don’t know if the seeds took or the plant is happy where it’s at. You have to check them and study them and fuss over them. You must keep weeding, because damned if the earth isn’t tryin to grow a big ol crop of clover and ground ivy.

Weed carefully.
This last weekend *sigh*
Moo weeded out carrots and onions *sigh*
from the carrot and onion patches. *sigh*

And Sassy *sigh*
pulled all the baby basil. *sigh*

Further proof of how my entire family hates me can be further illustrated by the fact that Cletus the Dog Kitten *sigh*
was there the moment the lavender seeds sprouted and killed them upon discovery. *sigh*

You pray for rain. You really appreciate rain like you never did before. (Unless you play Animal Crossing as well, then you know.) When it rains, you don’t have to stand out there with a hose, feelin bad about the earth’s limited resources and your water bill.

But sometimes, it just rains too damn much.




Finally, plants produce.


More baby trees? Really?


Then it’s time to plant more stuff.
And weed.

By the middle of summer, the plants are established enough that weeds are few. This is a very good thing, because it’s hot as Hades and you don’t even want to go out there to fetch a sprig of rosemary, let alone to dig away at a broadleaf. Night gardening is an actual thing, you know.


People come over and tell you how pretty your garden is. You smile proudly and admire it.

Cooking food you’ve grown is awesome.
Sometimes you don’t even have to cook, cause Caprese salad. (Mozzarella grown separately.)


Fresh cut flowers are beautiful.

peony.5 lilac5

So many flowers, especially wildflowers, bring all the fat bees and majestic butterflies to your yard.

wildflowers 11899971_10153554811188236_9024909739708024271_n

Every time you pull into the drive, you can’t believe you get to live in such a lush, beautiful, verdant space. You may pause to thank God you don’t live in Georgia. YMMV

August arrives and the sun tries to kill you how it does, so you spend half the month debating whether or not you have enough oomph to plant more mums, and when you finally succumb to the fact that you really do need eleventy-five more mums but what color and where? you spend the other half of the month planting and watering them. Early in the morning, because heatstroke is real.

too hot. am dying. send snow. ‪#‎sundayselfie‬ ‪#‎yankeebitch‬ ‪#‎ihatesummer‬ ‪#‎gardening‬ ‪#‎rosaceaonfire‬

September comes and you enjoy collecting berries. You must always tell your family that the blackberry bush didn’t produce much this year, lest they find out you eat half the blackberries as you pick them.
Then you can make cobbler.


October means bulbs. You don’t wanna wait too long. You never know when that first frost will come. You want to pick the first day in October when the ground is soft.


Once the bulbs are in all you have to do is rake the leaves into the flower beds. Then you can hole up in the winter, bury yourself in an afghan and eat a lotta noodles — or whatever makes you happy.

Joey, Joey quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With coffee grounds and eggshells, sure
And two little maids in tow.

With helping hands
Who needs them?
They rip plants out as I sow.

With so many rains
Aches and pains
Contact dermatitis steals the show.

With the sun beating down
And rosacea on deck
My skin is all aglow.

With weak-ass hands
And too many weeds
Mulberry honeysuckle woe.

With rabbits and squirrels
Yellow jacket motherfuckers
It’s better the devils you know.

With slugs and snails and broken nails
Is that a giant hornet?
My nerves are touch and go.

With hopes and fears
And fits of rage
And only an acre to go.

Also therapy? Writing about it.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
This entry was posted in Personally and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Who’s Contrary Now?

  1. Ally Bean says:

    Your photos and gardening story are great, but the poem at the end is priceless. Well done, oh contrary one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. meANXIETYme says:

    That was…outstanding. I hate gardening. I love plants and flowers and veggies and fruits, but I hate gardening. My body cannot even take ten minutes of pulling weeds out of our small gardens (because I couldn’t be WITHOUT a garden altogether) without pain.
    We have as many evergreen plants and we can handle, then a few non-evergreens. We planted them though weed paper, which actually works fairly well if you can keep it covered with mulch.
    Unfortunately, like you, we have diggers (though ours have four legs) who muck up our mulch and weed paper. 😦 So the gardens look ugly and unkempt, but our weeds are still mostly under control!
    My mother loved gardening. She would actually stop to weed our gardens when she was coming over to visit. I’d find her out there when she didn’t show up as expected.
    Impressive poem, there, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you so much 🙂
      I don’t always put poetry online, but when I do, I try to make it ridiculous.

      I hate weed paper, because I like to add things, and I like to plant stuff that spreads, but I totally understand the love of weed paper in your circumstance. I used it (and mulch) in Georgia, for our sad front garden. If only the puppies did, hm?

      My mother is also industrious like that. Of course, she wakes up with the rooster, so before I get up, she’s done half a day and weeds must be 3-4 on the list! lol I’m so impressed with our mothers. I’m more like, “Well I need a shower anyway, I guess I could do some weeding…”

      Honestly, I’m only planting perennials in the ground. It is my goal to fill the land up with edibles and perennials and self-seeders, to the point that The Mister need not mow 1.3 acres in his golden years — more like walk the mower along the paths.

      Liked by 1 person

      • meANXIETYme says:

        We’ve learned to add individual plants THROUGH the weed paper, but it is a pain in the rump. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to pull up the paper and re-do (supposed to be this year’s garden project) but it hasn’t happened yet. Of course, it’s rained for the last 20 days, so…
        And the best part about the rain is that it has made the weeds a little easier to pull, but it’s also made them more abundant. Dagnabit.
        Your pictures were so beautiful and I love flowers, I just don’t love caring for them and I don’t like the bees they attract. So we stick with evergreens or interesting plants that don’t have flowers. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • joey says:

          Damn that rain. I really hope the rest of the year’s precipitation is a bit more balanced.
          I don’t envy dealing with the paper, and I wish you well on the project!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. larva225 says:

    Beautiful! We’re already enjoying squash and zucchini from my pitiful little garden that I don’t have the time/attention/wherewithal to have. I also have a gorgeous sunny yellow sunflower that just bloomed 2 days ago. Maybe when I retire – like in 40 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Oh my goodness! I don’t even have a single squash seed in the bleedin ground yet and you’re already eating yours?!? That rain, dammit! I’m at least a month behind!
      Enjoy for me! 😀

      And thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As you know, I kill EVERYTHING, so it’s nice to know there’s some balance in the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Benson says:

    I am not very experienced at gardening. But I know it is hard from my few attempts. Hell were it easy early humans never would have gone after Big Ass bison with a stone and a pointy stick they would have stuck with salad.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. garym6059 says:

    This is like one of those Gardening for Dummies posts only funnier and truer. It all makes it worth it that one or two days in the summer when everything is in full bloom and hasn’t quite reached equatorial levels of hot and humid and you can just sit outside and take it all in.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Luanne says:

    Beautiful. I’m sure that is how my live-in gardener (who suffers from worse anxiety than I do) feels about it, too. He is always offering up his rosemary, chives, oregano, etc. for the kitchen (though not doing any cooking in recent years). He spends hours on the gardening. I am such a lazy person.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Chez Shea says:

    Gardening rocks! Great post. Love the verses. You’ve inspired me to stop ignoring my weeds and go attack them!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Megs says:

    This is the very first year that I’m enjoying gardening. Before this, when I’d visit my mother, she’d ask me to plant something simply because she liked looking in her garden and knowing that her kids put a lily or something pretty in there.

    THIS year… oh man… I don’t know why, but I’m into it.
    And THIS year, oh man, my muscles! They hurt so good.
    And THIS year, my mom gets an entire yard designed by yours truly.

    But I didn’t even think about the clothes I could wearing. Hats and boots and gloves? I might be official enough for those now…

    Or I might need to see if the garden survives the summer…

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Hats are necessary for me, gloves are helpful at times, and boots — well when you start in mud…lol!
      I hope your garden grows beautifully this year and you find it’s always a good workout for you, body, mind, soul 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your passion!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Norm 2.0 says:

    I’m so grateful that my grandmother introduced me to vegetable gardening at such a young age. The only problem (or perhaps it’s a blessing) is that I never went beyond that, so if I can’t eat it I have no interest in growing it. I can admire flowers and all but I just can’t get excited about growing them the way I do about veggies.
    And yes it is seriously therapeutic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I’m glad you also enjoy gardening. I love flowers. This is only my third year of growing a food garden. I started slowly and have added a bit each year.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dan Antion says:

    I help as best I can, but the Mrs does all the stuff you mention here, to the extend that we do it. She mostly tends to veggies. She till herself, though. I’m not to be trusted with the machine. I go too fast or too deep all at once or too something. I do try to be here. I help get the thing out of the shed and make sure it’s ready to go. I also give the tomato stakes the last few whacks. Other than that, I eat.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gardening looks a whole lot like work to me. Really boring work. The end result is good though, so I do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is fabulous!!! I have kept 3 citrus trees alive for 4 years! This is basically proof that I am a God. I even killed a cactus once, who does that! You’re garden is absolutely stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. baldjake70 says:

    I enjoyed your post so very muchly. I chuckled at the imagery you weaved in telling your story. You even poemed there at the end. So very impressive my Love.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m exhausted just reading about all this. I grow vegetables in deck pots. I’d like to try mozzarella some day. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ghostmmnc says:

    We had gardens several times for vegetables. I’m just not an outdoor person…too hot, and hoeing and digging and weeding…nope. I’ll go pick the ripe tomatoes and okra and stuff. I did plant some popcorn once or twice (just took some from the bag in the house) and they turned out really good with ears of popcorn! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I know just how you feel about the heat!

      That’s cool about the popcorn! I’ve never grown any corn — this year is my first attempt, but I chose sweet 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. It has lasted passed lunch, so I guess I should have gone out and pulled some weeds. There’s always tomorrow. Thanks for the laughter.


  18. bikerchick57 says:

    Yellowjacket motherf***ers…LOL! I agree!

    Gardening is emotional therapy. I miss the flower gardening I used to do for the former in-laws. Potting plants on a patio is nice, but not the same. I miss weeding and deadheading and moving plants around and spraying smelly shit on everything so the deer and bunnies don’t eat the foliage…all the fun stuff.

    The tulips are gorgeous and I want to help you pick berries. And eat them. Your momma taught you well, you have splendid results from all of your labor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Aw that’s so nice you tended the garden for your in-laws. I planted and established quite a bit for my MIL, but it didn’t stick for her. She’s just not outdoorsy at all.
      Thank you for the lovely compliment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Anxious Mom says:

    That poem hahahaha!!!! Loved the pictures, wish I had a green thumb (and knowledge and patience and everything else that goes into that).

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Laura says:

    So torn on this one.
    JEALOUS because beauty & food & look what you did & I really do buy into gardening is good for the soul.
    SHAKING MY HEAD because sweat & blisters & exhaustion & half my stuff always dies anyway (no green thumb here) & I worry I might actually hurt someone who weeded something I spent hours planting…
    Your life is beautiful. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Holly says:

    I love gardening. If we stay where we are now, I may try to do a small one next year. Container stuff just isn’t the same for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sherry says:

    the beauty of your garden testifies to your love of the process.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. April says:

    I love the poem! I like working out in the yard, but I rather enjoy weeding. I don’t grow any flowers unless I know for sure they’ll grow. I’m not patient enough to try another spot. So…..we have a bunch of flower beds with nothing in them because I pull the weeds. As far as a garden? Hmmmm…may have to do that in Missouri.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I wouldn’t swear to it, but I’ve come to think Missouri is one of those places where you can grow a more diverse group of plants, because of the humidity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • April says:

        Does Missouri have humidity? Oh no!


        • joey says:

          I’m sorry, but yes. Have you not been there? I thought you’d been?

          Liked by 1 person

          • April says:

            Yes, we have even been there in July and August but it didn’t seem humid. Maybe Georgia is just worse because it’s Georgia.

            Liked by 1 person

            • joey says:

              YES! Now that I agree with completely! YES! The Mister spent a June-July in the glades of Louisiana and he said that was even worse than Georgia, but Georgia is still crazy hot and sticky!

              Liked by 1 person

                • joey says:

                  :/ How much longer you think you’ll be in Georgia? Through the whole summer?


                  • April says:

                    oh my. I think we will be here for quite a few more summers. We can only work on the Missouri home a couple of weeks a year and there is some 20 years of nicotine stains to get rid of. The bathrooms need to be redone and are hoping we don’t have any problems.

                    However, we have one straggler (22 years old) who has to finish college first. Then we have to evict him from our basement so that we can sell this home. PLUS we are just shy of retirement age. It will be a few years before my husband can pull some of our 401K money out. Then there is all that other old people stuff like insurance and all.

                    Liked by 1 person

  24. joannesisco says:

    O.M.G. Your flowers are simply gorgeous. I have garden envy.

    I agree that gardening is back-breaking work and I can always think of something else I’d rather be doing. I’m guessing that’s why my garden always looks so sad.

    I recognized the shed door with the big X. It looks lovely now wearing an accessory of roses.
    Now I’m feeling motivated to get my sorry self back outside into the garden and finish the planting I started. We’re much further behind than you … the 3rd weekend in May is the threshold for most planting here when there is now a very low risk of frost. Then everything grows like crazy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh my gosh, I love this post. That lady with the basket snipping the lovely flowers either has a gardener or a landscaping company on her payroll. The rest of us are actively involved in the tasks you listed above and dodging all those yellow jackets. Thank you for the chuckles – all of them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.