Monday, June 1, 2015

The Reluctant Gardener

I use the term gardener very loosely. In fact, when I use the word gardener to refer to myself, I actually mean black thumb or person who kills every plant she touches within a 10-mile radius. I’m like the plague for plants.  I had pretty much given up on growing anything but babies until we bought a house. On a corner lot (read: huge front yard) with empty planters.

Daffodils, planted by (my) Mother Nature
Our neighbors across the street have an absolutely beautiful yard. It has lovely flowers in the spring. It has a variety of evergreen shrubs that look fantastic in the winter. On one side, there’s a lemon tree bursting with lemons all year long. It is absolutely gorgeous. My yard on the other hand, well, we've got dandelions and though they have flowers, technically those are weeds.

It is not that I feel the need to keep up with the Jones’. Our neighbor is lovely retired gentleman who prides himself on his yard. He spends hours a day weeding, pruning and planting. Ain’t nobody got time for that with two boys and a dog. But I feel bad that when I look out my bay window, I have a lovely view of their garden while they have a stellar view of my weeds. That, and when you buy a fixer-upper house, the idea is to actually fix it up.

We can grow grass. 
At first, I bought some simple wildflower seeds. I was 8 months pregnant so I conned my friends into coming over to pull all the weeds for me and put the seeds down. In the end they were certainly wild, but not very flowery. They were hideous 4 ft stick-weed-bushes. Fortunately, I’m an expert at killing plants so I had no problem abating those. We had a hot summer and with a new baby in the house, the hubby and I decided we were too cheap to water anything. Good-bye weedflowers. Unfortunately, we killed off part of our lawn too. So the next summer we reseeded and spent the kids’ college fund watering the lawn. (Side note: I learned you are supposed to reseed in the winter and let Mother Nature do the watering. Ooops. I suppose the kids will build some character in community college. No? I’m sure there’s an upside somewhere…)

The ever-hardy rosemary
Really, the upside is that our new grass actually grew. In fact, it flourished. I thought for a moment that perhaps I could grow myself a green thumb. In the fall, my mother (who rivals Mother Nature with her magical green thumb) planted some flowers, broccoli, basil and rosemary. Alas, my black thumb title remained untarnished; it wasn't long before most of the plants were lost. All of the broccolis were systematically taken out by bugs. The basil went down next. The rosemary was the only survivor. Out of the flowers, only three perished and miraculously a whole slew of daffodil bulbs recently started to appear.

If nothing else I'm determined, so I recently planted my favorite spring flower – tulips. I accidentally planted them in winter instead of in the fall so they would be as stunted as the rest of the plants in the yard, but they have proven to be pretty hardy. So far five out of ten have popped up. Given my track record, I’m calling that a success.

No actual tulips yet...
I may not have a green thumb, but I intend to conquer yard this with sheer will power. How about you? Are you the plague to plants or does beauty and life spring from everything you touch? For more trial and error gardening, follow me on Pinterest and check out my Gardening for Dummies board.

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