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Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Am Gardener, Hear Me Roar

I have been "gardening" or as I like to say, planting flowery shit around the yard in an effort to beautify the house and, most importantly, distract from the chalk drawings all over the driveway, the scooters, bikes and balls strewn about the porch steps, and the sea of plastic primary colored Little Tykes toys.

It's an exercise in futility.

When you drive down my street there is little doubt who lives in my house. In a neighborhood of perfectly manicured lawns and yards handled by professional landscapers, ours sticks out like a sore thumb, a sore brown thumb. I'd like to say our yard has character, but that would make it seem like it were something positive.

We had landscapers over to our house a couple of weeks ago to give us an estimate on some work we wanted done. They got the estimate to us on Monday and they may have well asked for our first born as payment. As a matter of fact, that would have been preferable since these days I'd be much more likely to part with him than cold hard cash.

But once the realization hit that we weren't going to be able to do the extensive work we wanted this year, I thought I had better get busy doing something, anything.

Tuesday I raked until my hands were blistered and wondered, yet again, why in the fall it always seems preferable to wait until spring to get up the leaves. There is no answer other than procrastination. Deep down I know that if I wait long enough it will snow and I won't have to deal with it for six months. My motto is: Why do something today when you can possibly win the lottery and then be able to pay someone to do all your dirty work tomorrow. Not that this motto has worked out real well for me, but I am optomistic.

When I couldn't take raking any longer, I got out the leaf blower. What a thrill to see the leaves, dirt, and plants with poor root systems, be torn up by the tornado like wind. I felt so powerful and God-like. It was fun blowing the debris over the stone wall and into our neighbors yard, at least until their landscaping crew showed up and I had to stop doing it.

Yesterday I went and bought lots of plants and cedar bark mulch. And I bought a cute pair of gardening gloves. I'm working my way up to the clogs. I figure if I keep these plants alive for a whole week I totally will deserve the gardening clogs. Then I can embrace the title "gardener" instead of "planter" which is all that I have been successful in doing these past 30-something years. Gardener implies that the stuff lives beyond the planting phase.

I spent the rest of the day digging, planting, putting in landscaping stones, mulching, and having my arms and hands scratched up. In between this I tried, mostly successfully, to keep my 16 month old out of the street. As soon as I avert my eyes from him he takes off running for the street. Thankfully it is a long driveway and he has short legs, making the trek to the street a marathon for him.

This morning Rob and I were standing outside in the front yard, where I was forcing him to admire my mad gardening skills.

"It looks really nice, Chris. You know you have to water it now, right? "

"Does it ever end? Am I going to have to be a slave to this for the entire summer?"

I was left wondering, would plastic flowers be really tacky?

I'm not holding my breathe on getting those gardening clogs. I wonder if they make planting clogs.


Blogger Annalise said...

How about going for the total neglect option and claiming that you're doing it on purpose? If challenged, you can just burble on about indigenous plants , and how weeds are purely culturally defined, and about getting back to nature as it's meant to be :-)

And certainly you can wear clogs while you do this :-)

9:07 AM  
Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

You crack me up like you have no idea!!!

The other post about your son and drilling his finger...LMAO!

I neeeded a laugh today, you fulfilled it, a smile appeared on my face, thank you!

a big fan:)
ps. I want to live at your house, just for entertainement purposes!

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the shrubs out front there are leaves that need to be raked out or sucked up. (our leaf blower can be used as a vacuum too but never has)

There is a bush I want to remove but it is so much work.

My backyard has toys everywhere too.
We sit on a golf course so I am sure the old farts LOVE our house.

Oh well.
(I just fed a friend's dogs and her backyard has little pansies all over it and is so cute! aargh)

9:45 AM  
Blogger Toady Joe said...

And don't forget about the cost of water, and how WRONG it is to water your lawn when there are starving children in Indonesia (or whatever). Annalise is right - make it a cultural and environmental issue, proclaim LOUDLY about it, and let the things DIE. Then stand proud in your Birks (heck with clogs, go Birk, baby).

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read your blog for some time now but have never left a comment...

Yes plastic flowers are SOOOOOOO tacky!

There is someone in our neighbourhood who put them in their front bed - it's just awful!

I love your sense of humour and enjoy reading what you have to say.

CHEERS from Canada (obviously with the spelling of some of my words...)

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Jordana said...

We laid down soaker hoses in our flowerbeds last year. I've really been enjoying the fact that all I have to do now to water is to turn on the hose and come back in an hour to turn it off.

What you really need are some unkillable plants though, like day lilies and hostas. They are my favorites for easy gardening.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

I'm the same way - when I have a house, I have complete intentions to put nothing but plastic flamingos and statues of the Virgin Mary where landscaping should rightfully go.

9:57 AM  
Blogger owlhaven said...

Yes, day lilies are awesome. Mums are practically unkillable as well. I have had good luck with roses as long as I give them rose food/aphid killer at least twice during the season. Doable for me since that is a 5 minute job, tops.

I say get the clogs anyway.

Mary mom to many, and sporadic gardener as well

10:10 AM  
Blogger kalisah said... have a leaf blower and yet you raked until you had blisters??? What were you thinking?

10:15 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

I would just blame the kids. Or get a dog and blame it (that's what I used to do). "I try to have a nice yard but the kids/dog ruin all my hard work..." hehe Buy the clogs!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I am a strong believer in natural selection. I try to find the hardiest of plants and hope for the best. The strong will survive!! Since I live in Houston, where it is already 95 degrees outside, not too many actually make it!! I hate watering, I hate the tripled water bill, and most of all, who has the time?

(Hint, Hint - One plant that keeps growing, flowering, and spreading every year have been my hibiscus plants. They love the sun, the heat, and the minimal water)

11:24 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

Don't laugh a neighbor down the street put her house on the market and I assume to beautify her yard, she planted plastic, fake mums in the front of her house.

I almost veered of fthe road when I saw it.
And no, I actually don't live in a white trash neighborhood.

11:51 AM  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

I feel your pain. My yard is butt-ugly compared to my neighbor's yard. Granted, they are retired and can spend all day in their yards.

Go ahead and buy the clogs! I did. They were on sale at Target. I don't think of myself as a gardener either. One of my best friends is one. I'm totally jealous. She even has a gazebo.

These other people in my neighborhood had a really nice yard I thought...until they planted PINK PLASTIC FLAMINGOS! Just wrong I tell you, wrong.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Cindy said...

(ppssssst....anyone looking???)

Silk flowers can look TOTALLY real...from a distance. Some of them...I swear.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Bryanne said...

You could always put THIS:

in your yard, and THEN see what your neighbors have to say?

I had a tree that needed to come down in my yard, was threatening to fall and possibly do damage. Snow finally took it down this winter and thankfully didn't take down any house with it.

Eh - its a rental.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Amber said...

And what about astro-turf? It's always sooo lovely year-round!

We've been wrestling with the same nightmare, only we're in a new house and have to put in a new lawn--certainly no small undertaking. Those landscapers are worth EVERY penny!

6:07 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I think some of your oldest children are ready to be told it is their responsibility to water the garden. Then when the plants die it is the kids faults and if anyone says anything about your lawn you can tell that you planted a beautiful garden but you were trying to teach your sons to be more responsible and sadly they didn't remember to water the flowers.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Maddy said...

Get the clogs, you NEED the clogs, they make gardening more fun and you will feel very good in them too. And when you want to wear the clogs you can just water the garden to show off the clogs.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I always love everyone else's landscaping, but I know nothing about plants or gardening and I always just end up cursing my yard when I drive up to my house! If I could get away with plastic flowers, I totally would.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Hey, I'm pretty darn proud of myself for growing some herbs inside, in pots. I'm pretty sure the box said they were idiot-proof, but I'd have to check. They have just sprouted, so we'll see if they even make it past infancy. You know, so I can actually use them...

10:11 PM  
Blogger deputyswife said...

My good friend, I would like to introduce you my favorite plant. The hosta. Hostas cannot be killed. My boys have urinated, stomped and "trimmed" the leaves back. They will not die and they look great with mulch or rocks.

What is even better, people need to divide hostas every few years. I always have no problem begging from strangers to have cuttings from their hostas.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

So glad to know I am not the only one...

I still have a dead potted plant by my door from last summer!!! good grief. Well, if one blogs, how does one have time to garden - seriously. I am lucky if i feel the sunshine as I jusmp in my car to drive my son to school! (Now i do go to parks etc and play with my son outside - i am not a terrible parent - but getting to gardening just doesn't happen for me.)

And in my neighborhood i stand out to!! and not in a good way... I do have a landscaper that keeps the grass cut and things under control. but no extra flowers let me tell you!! (I have a flower on my masthead - does that count?)

anyway - my name is Janice and I hopped over here from the Mommy Blog. Love your site. you are a riot!

(I have a blog for moms that highlights blogs and other stuff for moms online called )

I'll be back! you are a great writer!

1:59 AM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

My best friend's father growing up was a gardener, and they had TURF instead of actual grass. Ha!

Hmmm, how about lots of bushes? Can't you give the hose to the kids and tell them to water? They could probably manage that, no?

If not, I'll come visit and we'll garden together.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ##name##, I've been working on the backyard a few years. We finally added a pond and a waterfall but I am certainly openlandscaping tips to some tips on how to make our backyard look great for this spring and summer.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ##name##, I've been working on the backyard a few years. We finally added a pond and a waterfall but I am certainly openyard landscape to some tips on how to make our backyard look great for this spring and summer.

4:18 PM  
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