Why didn’t anyone warn me, when I was blathering on about the meditative benefits of gardening, planting 400 hundred seedlings spread out all over an acre of yard that July would come? Oh, July, how I hate you with your 85+ morning temps, and your hundred degree afternoons. How I hate the way you wilt my plants before I even wake up in the morning, and how you encourage the weeds to grow while I have my back turned.
July has conspired with the caterpillars to rob me of my roma tomatoes, my bell peppers, my squash and cucumber and watermelon. Before even the tiniest squashling appears after a blossom, the plants are ravaged by worms and heat. (I should confess here that the tomatoes that do make it end up thrown into my mouth on the way to the kitchen. I’m the only one who can appreciate them properly, anyway) I’ve lost the heart to fight them, and I get the vapors every time I’m out there without a beer for longer than 20 minutes. This morning I cut some zinnias and dune sunflowers to arrange in vases, and by the time I was through cutting, there were six vases of flowers and enough sweat pouring off me to fill the vases. I visited the mystery plant, some kind of leafy green that came with the broccoli plants salvaged from my uncle’s nursery, and for the first time all season I clipped some leaves to sauté with butter.
The front flowerbeds are all but forgotten, left to fend for themselves under the weeds and in drought conditions. Curiously, it seems that the more I leave a plant alone, the better the plant will perform for me. I’ll take it, July. Send me inside and nurture my plants for me while I play Call of Duty, OK? See you in September, plants!
Hi! Have you been dying to know what my garden is like now all these weeks after I threw plants in the ground and crossed my fingers? No? Maybe you’d like to hear about my minute by minute love/hate relationship with my teenager, who after following me around all day because she was lonely, just stormed out of the room in tears after I reminded her that she’s lost some privelges. Ah, limits.
You can guage how things are going in my life these days by how much time I spend in the garden. My running total has me ahead by like 12 thousand dollars in unused therapy dollars, but still we’re feeling the crunch of my plant addiction and soon I’ll be scavenging the roadsides and all my relatives’ yards for new ones. Slowly the St Augustine grass (I’m sorry, did I say grass? I meant straw. Grass carcass) is being edged out in favor of butterfly friendly ground cover, rescued lilies from the ‘sad aisle’ at the local nursery, and dune sunflowers. (which I hope will survive my lackadasical watering habits)
Even the little kids can’t stand to be outside in this heat (oh, bummer. all alone in the yard) and today when I begged TeenHer to keep me company out there she elected to do laundry instead.
It’s not that things are so stressful that I can’t be anywhere else. It’s more that the inside of the house is dirty, and when I’m outside I can’t see it. Somehow even though the days are longer, I’m missing the hours (ok, not the hours. the motivation) that it would take to Get crap Done on the inside. Hence, every day you’ll see me gradually creating a living room in the yard.
I also think on some level I’m convinced that all wounds can be healed with plants (oh, right, they can! medicinal herb garden: in the works) and I think if I spend enough time out there making things beautiful, making the space lovely and inviting for my family, that we’ll find ourselves out under the stars some night instead of eating dinner on the couch in front of yet another showing of Temple of Doom.
Wish me luck.