Monday, May 10, 2010

Gardening

Yesterday, I planted a garden in my backyard.

We're not doing much with our lawn, so we hoed out a pretty big chunk of it and tilled the dirt to make way for four rows of pumpkins and 18 strawberry plants that I had picked up at the nursery. It turned out, after doing the math on Saturday, that in order for the pumpkins to be ready for our wedding, they needed to be planted like, now.

You have to understand something about me, though, to understand why this is a big deal. Me and plants? Yeah, we don't get along. Which is a shame, because I totally LOVE plants. I mean, they're awesome, and beautiful.

But see, when I was a kid, my mom and my grandparents used to try to teach me how to take care of plants, and I failed. Every. Single. Time. I was the arboreal version of the kid that keeps overfeeding the goldfish it gets at the fair. You know, the one whose mom goes to the pet store every week trying to find a twin before the kid gets home from school.

I once even managed to kill a cactus. That's dedication, right there. It takes a LOT of not-watering to kill a plant that lives in the desert.

One time I planted marigold seeds in the backyard with my mom's help. They sprouted, grew, even flowered-- and then the dog dug them up.

I'm cursed.

So you can imagine how nervous I was to attempt something as bold as a garden. See, we have a yard-- front and back-- but I am extremely lucky in that my future father-in-law is retired, loves his son and me, and enjoys yard work. Extremely lucky. He takes care of the yard for us, so our house is surrounded by lush, green plants and gorgeous flowers. I'm secretly hoping he'll step in and correct any damage I might do by thundering around in there like Godzilla.

And I vow to be more careful, and look at pictures of pumpkin sprouts online so I don't accidentally pull them out as weeds. It's too early to tell if these new lives will make it with me around, but I'm excited nevertheless. It's been a dream of mine for a long time-- and especially ever since we bought the house-- to have a garden. To grow something from the ground and pick it and be able to say, hey, I grew that.

Now is usually the part where I bring it all back around to writing. But you know what? The gardening/ writing metaphor has been done to death. I think I'll just sit here, in my thoughts, thinking about big shady trees and green, green, green all around.

Feel free to use your imagination and give me your best gardening/ writing metaphor in the comments, though.

15 comments:

Taryn Tyler said...

I planted things in our garden yesterday too. Only there was nothing so ambitious as pumpkins involved. good luck :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I have a black thumb as well. Which doesn't stop me from planting little seedlings every year. And watching them die. So sad.

Rick Daley said...

I once killed a plastic plant. Can you top that?

Matthew Delman said...

You killed a cactus? I got admit I'm pretty impressed by that.

Rick -- How the heck do you kill a plastic plant? Run it through a woodchipper?

fairyhedgehog said...

No metaphors. Just to say I was interested in this.

L. T. Host said...

Taryn-- good luck to yours as well!

Susan-- it really is. I always feel so bad :(

Rick-- No, I can't top that. But I am curious, like Matt, how you managed that...

Matt-- every word is true!

Fairyhedgehog-- always good to know what appeals and what doesn't, so thanks! :)

Susan R. Mills said...

I'm okay with outdoor plants, but the indoor variety, not so much.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love gardening, but I used to hate it ('cause I sucked at it!). Once you get your feet under you, you may discover you love it like I do! :-)

L. T. Host said...

Susan: Yeah, indoor plants are a no-no at our house as well, but mostly because the Terror Kittens will shock them dead. Not sure if that's before or after they drag them-- dirt, roots, and all-- all over the house, though.

Shannon-- I'm hoping so. I actually really like the idea of gardening; and I am twisted in that I adore physical labor, but the execution has always been tricky. However, I used to have the same issue with cooking-- hated it because I sucked at it-- but now that I actually have to cook for someone on occasion, I'm starting to learn to like it.

Cynthia Reese said...

Bless you. I thought I was the only one who could kill a cactus. Thanks for your confession. I walk in a nursery or greenhouse, and plants tremble.

Gary Corby said...

You clearly have excellent taste in fathers-in-law!

Not quite a metaphor, but you could have a look at the gardening mysteries of Rosemary Harris. The trailer alone for Deadhead is worth a look.

L. T. Host said...

Cynthia-- oh thank goodness, I'm not the only one. It's such an unusual, er, power?

Gary-- Yes, I got very lucky. But I said that already.

I'll have to check it out-- I'm currently reading FARM FRESH MURDER, which is very garden-y/ plants growing-y. It may have had some influence on my decision to plant again.

Tara said...

I love gardening. I have a huge garden where I plant almost every veggie imaginable; and some fruits. I hate to be the bearer of disturbing news, but: pumpkins are the hardest of all. They are extremely susceptible to disease! I do organic, so I won't use sprays, but if you are willing, use some good sprays they can make.

Good luck. There's nothing like the literal fruit of your labor :)

L. T. Host said...

Tara-- *cringe*. Okay, I picked a hard plant. Uh...

I think I'm okay with sprays, etc., if only because they are purely for decoration, not eating. Normally I wouldn't like the idea, but they've got to be pretty. Thanks for the tip! :)

Simon C. Larter said...

My writing brain is like the bottom of the compost pile in my back yard: dark, dirty, and crawling with strange and creepy creatures, but incredibly fertile. How about that for a gardening/writing simile? :)