It’s Spring (almost). The time of year when my inner suburban gardener always attempts to make an appearance. She is quite an enthusiastic one, that inner gardener. And this year, I made the mistake of taking her to the Philadelphia Flower Show.
Now she’s all fired up to plant gorgeous things and create an oasis of fabulosity all around my house. I need to get a grip on her before she completely runs amok. (And yes, that is actually how you spell amok – I looked it up – I am thorough that way.)
Anyway, every year when the snow melts (hallelujah!) and the little budding things start budding, I get all inspired. This will be the year that I become a gardener!
I come from a long line of gardeners. I remember visiting the back yard at my great grandmother’s home in Shamokin, PA, where the whole area was taken up with garden.
My grandfather used to grow copious quantities of vegetables as well as amazing flowers.
My uncle is a professional horticulturist. He is the president of the Delaware Gesneriad Society. I have no idea what that means, except that he knows a LOT about gardening.
My aunt has the greenest thumb ever, next to my mom. They know the Latin names of everything and they aren’t afraid to use them.
My cousin is a Master Gardener.
I kill things.
And I don’t like dirt.
I think I may be adopted.
But then every year catalogs arrive, filled with beautiful pictures and the promise that I, too, can make it all a reality at my very own home. Filled with cute little drawings and diagrams that make it all seem so very simple.
So I order things. And I visit the garden center and I pick out plants and flowers of varying colors and textures and heights. With the eye of a trained artist (wannabe) I scope it all out.
It’s going to be amazing!
The first warm day rolls around and I go to the garden center and pile a bajillion bags of mulch into my car. I used to get the big pile-o-mulch, but that is far too much pressure.
Bags are less intimidating.
I put on ratty old clothes and a mangled baseball cap (so much for the lovely straw hat). I apply a great deal of sunscreen. And we are off.
Over the course of that day, I rake, haul, dig, hit rocks, curse, dig more, sweat, swat bugs, scream, run away from bugs, stick my hands in things I don’t want to think about, sweat more, curse more.
And at the end of the day, everything looks fabulous.
And I am an utter mess.
My back is sore.
My hands are raw (I generally forget to put on gloves until I have enormous blisters).
I am grumpy.
I am sweaty.
And I remember that I actually kind of hate gardening.
And for the rest of the summer I try to avoid doing anything else about it. I pull the odd weed. I water things if they are really threatening to die.
And yet, every time something new blooms I get all excited. And I think I might like it again. And I buy a straw hat for next year. And it starts all over again.