Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gardens Resurrected

So I began blogging back when I was wrestling with my roses and had put down a make-shift ghetto tarp of black plastic trash bags and duct tape, only to discover that nature can defeat duct tape. Stupid nature.

Well, it's spring and I'm back in the garden, with somewhat more success this year. For starters, I've discovered a WONDERFUL product called "weed-blocking fabric," which is basically my ghetto tarp of black plastic trash bags, only sold at garden centers and with ground stakes, so I don't have to use the duct tape and I can pay twice as much for the whole shebang. Over the course of a painful afternoon, I installed it all around those stupid hurty thorny roses, so now I don't have to go near them to weed them pretty much ever.

We've also put in a bird garden, which will eventually grow up to feature plants that have seeds and berries that birds like to eat, and nectar for the hummingbirds. The only problem is that they currently feature leaves the bunnies like to eat. Which wouldn't be a problem when they were grown-up plants, but is a little annoying as currently they're babies. Get away, bunnies! Go eat dandelions and clover!

We mail-ordered the bird garden, and the tree and bush involved came bare-root, which means you're supposed to soak them for several hours before you plant them. I didn't have anything on hand that was really handy for soaking a tree, so I soaked them in my bathtub. People kept asking, "What's up?" and I'd reply, "Well, there's a tree in my bathtub." Just because it's funny. My cats were hugely entertained with the tree in the bathtub. They could not figure out what the heck was wrong with me, but at least they enjoyed sniffing at the outdoors living in the bathroom tub.

It wasn't so much a tree, though, as a stick with roots. A dead-looking stick. I planted it a week ago, in the evening, and two days later, there were these little red swellings. Which then started to look like buds. Which now look like the world's teeniest leaves. It's pretty amazing. We planted some delphiniums from root too, and a few days later, I noticed that one had poked up its head, one was still underground, and one had a fairly sturdy-looking inch-high growth. Well, I settled down near the delphiniums for an hour to plant some mums. At the end of the hour, the poker was inch-high, the underground one had poked up, and the inch-high one was three inches high and unfurling new leaves at a terrifying rate! I swear, you didn't even need a time-lapse camera to watch these things grow.

I had no idea that I would like gardening. Or parts of it, anyway. I like the parts where things sorta miraculously grow. I don't mind the weeding. I hate the stupid pokey roses. Also not such a fan of 80-lb sacks of dirt. And the charmer at Home Depot who always seems to be working in the garden section the day I go to buy mulch or dirt - HEAVY stuff and I'm a little girl! - who watches me heave it into my cart, and then and ONLY then, after the sacks are securely in the cart, says to me, "Would you like some help putting them in the cart?"

Still, moron clerks aside, I'm starting to enjoy gardening, which comes as a shock to me. I'm not outdoorsy and I don't like dirt, yet suddenly every evening ends with dirt under my nails, and I have an amazing stamina when I'm digging to put in edging or weeding methodically for hours on end. I may be the only person in the world who actually weeds lawn dandelions by hand with the weed pokey tool. I'm sure it has a real name, but weed pokey tool describes what it is and does so much better than whatever its real name is. And the people at Do It Best know what I mean when I ask for the weed pokey tool. I broke my last one.

But still - and I've lost my train of thought here, so watch me race down the track trying to catch it - I'm starting to love gardening. I feel like I gave birth to this darn tree myself, barely three feet high and with its teeny little leaves starting to unfurl. I'm so proud of my little bush for putting out its own leaves and trying hard to be a bush. And I can't help thinking that farming is the biggest racket in the world, because you put stuff in the ground and it grows for FREE! With rain and sunshine! It just grows! I mean, the plant does all the work itself! It's amazing! Of course, that method of farming would mean we'd all be eating dandelion greens for dinner every night and drinking nothing but dandelion wine, but I just can't get over my amazement at how the darn things GROW ON THEIR OWN. Everything else I've ever done that turns out an end product requires me to do something. These just grow! Like inexpensive children who don't beg for Nintendo products!

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