How I Learned to Garden

Clipping hedges develops muscles. Forearms. Pectorals. Triceps. It’s kinda like pilates with the added bonus of vitamin D creation. Trust me. I can feel each and every one of those muscle groups today after spending an afternoon shaping the shrubbery around our yard. I also have a very special farmer’s tan right now. Actually, it’s a sunburn, and it follows the line of a Hanes wife-beater. It’s going to take a lot of aloe before I can wear a bathing suit again…

It’s amazing how many different kinds of weeds there are. I don’t know their latin names, their genus or species. Some have thorns, some are viney, some are short, some are like trees, some have flowers that are almost pretty. It doesn’t really matter to me what they’re called, because all that matters is they’re interfering with my hydrangea. I usually just hope they’re not the kind of weeds that require an extraction device.

For those of you who followed my old blog, you might recall that I was inspired by a 60 Minutes bit on Alice Waters to plant my own modern victory garden. I had the spot on the property all picked out and a wonderful selection of seeds — tomatoes, zucchini, beans, and flowers — all ready to go. I had a plan of a attack. Unfortunately, what I didn’t have was time to plant the seeds. By the time I was home long enough to contemplate top soil varieties, it was mid-June — way too late to start dealing with seedlings with an eye to summer harvesting. So I downsized, shelved the legumes and veggies and took my chances with the flowers. After nearly 2 months, all I have is some green leaves that could easily be mistaken for grass. the leaves have holes in them, put there, I assume, by some sort of insect that enjoys dahlias. Maybe by the end of August, I’ll have a flower or two. What I do have to show for myself as a gardener is a 2’x2′ herb garden. The basil is a bit tragic… the bugs that live in my backyard must be italian.

Suburbanites, have you ever noticed how many nurseries there are in your neighborhood? I can count 6 within an 8 mile radius of my house. 8! There used to be 9, but then the owners sold out to some real estate developers. Next year (economy willing?) there will probably be 3 houses where that nursery used to be. I’m always amazed that all these plant-selling establishments have managed to remain open all these years, that one hasn’t cannibalized the other.

I don’t fool myself into thinking I have a green thumb. Far from it. Gardening is serious work… and a serious workout. Just ask my forearms, they’ll tell you.

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2 thoughts on “How I Learned to Garden

  1. Don’t take it as an offence but … it has been great fun reading about your gardening misadventures! You’ll be definitely fit and tanned at the end of this summer.Don’t give up, K!

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