Thursday, May 21, 2009

Visions of grandeur

When we bought our house, I was quite excited to get out and plant a few plants and have pretty flowers and bushes and maybe a little garden somewhere. And that summer passed with little more than grumpy weed pulling. I hate weed pulling, and they grow so darn quickly.

The next summer came and we bought a couple of plants, pulled some ugly bushes, and the weeds grew some more. I overwatered and underwatered as I figured out how to water. It seems that it's harder than I thought. I grew up with a true gardener mom and have helped her water her menagerie of plants in her greenhouse and outside. I've helped her garden. Surely, I know some things. But the weeds still grew and the plants were mediocre at best and no gumption was gathered to pull more ugly bushes. And it costs money. I'm cheap enough that my visions of grandeur usually satisfy me, even though I sigh often when I come home and see my denuded looking house, so spindly and pitiful looking compared to the lushness of houses around us.

Then the next summer came and Ben and I planned out and produced a raised bed garden. It turned into a riot of vines and tendrils and fruit and pitiful veggies, but it was still fun to piddle in nonetheless. My whopping red pepper was something to behold. It was the size of a head of garlic. Pitiful. And the general scourge of weeds continued. I quickly realized that the nice neat border around the fence that so attracted me and looked so neat and clean and easy to take care of when we bought the house took about a week to revert back to a jungle-ish state. Apparantly, green thumb that I am, I did not realize at the time that you have to spray weed killer like crazy to keep it that way. Dumping chemicals into the soil just because you're too lazy to pull weeds is something that I don't like. So, I tried the tactic of just planting wildflowers in the space last summer to negate the weed-age. Instead, the weeds just grew in between the wildflowers, and all became even more garishly jungle-like and basically ugly.
This summer, the weeds are already rampant. We have 3 decorative thistles, mega thistles really, growing right beside our cement slab of a patio. I finally got some flowers potted after having them sitting in their sad little pots on my porch for a couple of weeks. My calla lillies aren't coming up (???), only 1 canna bulb sprouted (but it's going strong!), my hydrangeas are kind there but seem to be stuntedly not growing, and my raised bed is again quickly turning into a riotous mess. Alas the mint that I so excitedly planted 2 summers ago. It is villainous indeed. But, the irises are being fruitful and multiplying and purpling my world beautifully right now (I love them...they require no work!), my new lilac bushes are doing quite well, and my hibiscus is courageously returning for another year, even though it seems to be smaller and smaller each year.
My visions may be grandeur-ous, but my reality is only half-so. Mostly because the weeds are growing and no one is pulling them. I hear people (i.e. women...I still don't know too many guys who partake quite liberally in the cleaning of the dwelling when married, though Ben is pretty good, I admit) say how they actually enjoy cleaning. I can't fathom such an outrageous idea. Such is also my state of mind when I hear of people (again...women) who enjoy pulling weeds. Why? What mental complex do you have that you enjoy crouching, pulling, hacking, lugging, sweating, and digging at stickery thistles and pesky stalks of whatever grows in between the slats of my fence? How can this be therapeutic in any way? There are maybe 3 days a summer where the conditions are just right and the stars have alligned just so when pulling weeds is okay, but never really enjoyable.
At least with weeds in my backyard, I can close the fence door and my blinds so that no one will be looking at the messiness. Unfortunately, cleaning is another bugaboo that I have not yet learned to enjoy and one which I cannot so easily shut out. My mom would be appalled if she knew how little I clean like she does, a real house purging. It's a good thing that she doesn't live close enough to know, and it's also a good thing that people do come and visit us once in a while; that does give me some incentive. Right now, the inside of my house is as much of a grubby mess as the outside. Any takers who are truly mental and enjoy weeding, gardening, pulling bushes, and/or cleaning houses? I'll feed you copious amounts of chocolate...

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