I’ve always been a gardener….in my head. My Dad was the BEST gardener I’ve ever known. He did it right….tilled and fertilized and babied his plants. We composted everything from the kitchen…our very lives were threatened if we threw away any compostable material.  He had the touch. But he wouldn’t do anything frivolous like flowers or shrubs….no sireee. Huge cauliflower. Cucumbers that were as long as his arm. Okra that grew up over his head with 8″ pods that were still tender enough to fry. His tomatoes probably could have earned him a record somewhere.

Maybe all that garden/canning/freezing frenzy scared me away from wanting a vegetable garden. Or maybe I am aware of the fact that all my farmer ancestors would be rolling over in their graves when they saw my weeds, puny plants, and bug-infested harvest. I can promise you, that’s what it would be. I don’t have the patience or the time to do it. I will just mooch off of others or buy what I need.

So why am writing about gardens? Because I want flowers and shrubs and trees and bushes and ornamental grasses. I want a little place to sit outside where I can hear the birds and see the butterflies and smell the earthy sweetness that you can only get from living plants. I want tacky, quirky little accents that match my tacky and quirky personality. ( I believe they call it “whimsical”!)  I want a place where the dogs can visit but not “make it their own”. A place where I can sit out with my family and catch fireflies and watch the kids play in the sprinkler. I want a place that is small and contained and easily maintained. I want something like this……..

So why don’t I have it? Because I don’t know how! I am 55 years old and everything I have ever planted has died. My son-in-law gave me the best present 2 years ago. He planted a little area with azaleas and flowers….he worked so hard on it. He bought the good garden soil and dug and sweated for a whole day to get it done. I babied it and watered it and fertilized it and talked to it. And they all died. The bushes never took root….I watched one of them get caught in the wind and just blow away! I was so sad…..

As I mentioned earlier, my sister is a huge inspiration to me. Whatever she needs or wants to do…she just does it! So after my vacation this year, I determined that “by golly….I’m just going to do it!” Right or wrong, I was going to sweat and dig and tote and carry and stack and hang….whatever I needed to do to get a little garden started. I didn’t care if it was just a few bricks and a tree….I was going to get it started. I may not know much, but I do know that NOTHING in this life ever gets done without being started. Even a bit at a time. So I ordered a bunch of discounted cheap trees. We planted a little red bud that my son-in-law gave us. I went to the nursery when everything was 75% off and bought dracaena, grasses, peonies, hibiscus, and a crepe myrtle. I went to Lowe’s and bought vincas and moss roses for 50% off. Now the reason everything was so cheap is because planting time is past here….it’s too HOT. But did I care? NO.  Did I research these plants to make sure they were okay for my area or soil or sun/shade? NO. (That would require planning and forethought and I hate that.  I don’t read instructions either. I just fiddle with it and try to get it right…and then give up and have hubby do it 😉 )  I decided to be safe and just use containers and do the real planting in the Fall. But I was excited! I was actually DOING something that I wanted/needed to do! YEAH!  In North Dakota I saw some painted boots used as planters. I wanted that! I saw old pitchers and teapots with flowers spilling out. I wanted that! I saw old rusted out pans filled with succulents. I wanted that! So now I have that! Not the garden of my dreams yet, but I got started…and that’s good enough…for now.

Now I know all you snobby gardeners are laughing at me! And I don’t really care. You have to start where you are with what you have. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t up to someone else’s standards.  I’m having fun with it. I’m babying my plants and trying to keep them cool. I am appreciating them. I am giving them LOTS to drink in this heat. I move them to the shade when it gets to be too much. They are still alive! It’s a miracle. And our little red bud tree has tripled in size since I gave it some company. Hubby is even talking Pergola! So all you doubters and haters out there….miracles can and do happen all the time. Can’t wait to post an update this next year!

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