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!
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.
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.
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.
So many flowers, especially wildflowers, bring all the fat bees and majestic butterflies to your yard.
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.
YES, I tell you, GARDENING IS THERAPY!
Also therapy? Writing about it.