In surveying my backyard with the semi-warm air brushing my cheek, my thoughts turned to spring and all the work involved with warm weather. My faithful followers over the years know how much I hate yard work. I love flowers, but hate gardening. Dirt under my fingernails is not my idea of an excellent afternoon. Iím not a prissy gardener by any means, I get dirty with the best of them - I simply donít like it. My bed is full of perennials, courtesy of my mother, who kept bringing them over to our house throughout the years to stick in here or there. My perennials come up beautifully every year, along with every weed known to mankind. I remind myself every year that every weed is a flower in some other part of the world. Somewhere, someone is growing that thistle with pride and joy. This said while pulling that thistle out with gusto and chucking it over the fence.
Yards are work. Work sometimes involves money. In my case, I donít spend a lot of money on my yard. Right now Iím thinking of my lemon of a mower, which we bought with the expectation of never having to do much to it. We mow, we put it away. We mix gas and oil, we fill it, we mow, we put away. It just didnít work out that way, and every summer weíve had to take it in for a good fixing. I think one summer the engine almost fell out of it. George would say, ďNow babe, it just needs the spark plug cleaned up.Ē Good, do that and make sure it stops acting like a petulant child instead of a name brand mower. We spent more money on that thing than necessary so it wouldnít need a good spark plug cleaning every two weeks.
My kids, for the past seven or eight years, have been my mowers. Belle started out mowing while I weedeated. When she left for college, Selena took over and Hunter started the weedeating. When she tore her ACL last summer, Hunter took over. I weed my beast of a garden and watch them make straight lines, learning with each turn the basics of yard mowing 101. They each have a way of doing it, and argue about the best way. I sit back and smile, knowing they are learning while doing the work I dislike. Itís a win-win. I wonít let myself think about when they are all gone and I have to mow again. Darn Georgeís allergies to grass.
A lot of people spend money killing dandelions and other weeds that come up in their yard. I may be shot for this, but I enjoy my dandelions. They signify spring, and with their beautiful yellow heads make my days cheery when I survey their army taking over my yard. They go away soon enough and every year I save time and money by not killing them to within an inch of their life.
The thing I save my money on the most is potted plants. I donít plant many annuals in my beds, but I do have lots of containers for gardening. Iíve collected so many pots over the years: rusty tin ones, chipped yellow ones, huge tubs with drain holes pounded in with a nail. If I could fill my entire back patio with them I would. I donít usually run out and fill my containers with flowers when the first greenhouses open. Itís usually the end of May or beginning of June that I slowly start to buy them, those little black plastic containers of cheery little annuals. Iíve also been known to wait until Walmart has them on sale for 99 cents. Those little happy blossoms all lined up in the garden center just waiting for a procrastinator like me to nab them up and plant them in a cracked pot. Hey, by the time Iím done planting them, my porch and patio look like a jungle Ė all for around ten bucks. Take that, early flower shoppers.
Missyís Rules of Gardening (semi tongue in cheek that is!)
1) Donít mow too early Ė the grass will keep growing and you will be forced to keep up with it.
2) If you baby your thistles just a bit, they grow tall enough to look like works of art. Pull out most and leave one or two for interest.
3) The best potting containers are the rusty, dented ones because of the holes for drainage. Throw some hot pink annuals into that rusted baby and set it smack dab in the middle of your garden for a splash of color.
4) Have some old drawers or suitcases sitting around? Fill them with dirt and plant something in them! Stack the drawers haphazardly for a great look and the flowers will spill out over the edges as they grow.
5) Above all, if you donít have a green thumb by nature, donít sweat it. My mom has a green thumb, while I was born with a black one Ė just have fun and donít take that garden too seriously. I like a few weeds mixed in with the perennials I canít kill. Weeds make life interesting!
Published: March 19, 2012