I don’t grow vegetables. Never have, never cared to. My eyes glaze over when folks start saying how restorative and meaningful it is to dig in the dirt.
I don’t grow vegetables. Never have, never cared to.
My eyes glaze over when folks start saying how restorative and meaningful it is to dig in the dirt.
I can’t help it. The growing of things outdoors hasn’t been on my list for years – decades even.
I don't tend vegetables or even flowers, aside from the ones we planted before my last baby was born and he’s now 26.
My spouse planted a handful of seeds at driveway’s edge last month, and all he has to show for it a single watermelon the size of a tennis ball. He did the same thing last year and when that little pipsqueak of a thing emerged he didn’t even get to cut into it before a neighboring 6-year-old stole it to use as a hand grenade.
"What did you expect?” I said to him. “It’s what gardening IS: just another backdrop for heartbreak!"
Hence our yard today looks pretty much as it did in the Reagan era. We have a single rose bush, a bare stalk of a thing with not a single leaf on it. We have four peony bushes that I planted so long ago I was still wearing my hair like Jennifer Beal in “Flashdance.”
The peonies stand today all dusty and exhausted-looking. The way I see it they have only themselves to blame. They look like this in August because they get so carried away in June, making blossoms the size of dinner plates, like the big frowsy heads of lions, like the jokey corsages circus clowns wear with the little water-squirting gizmos inside them.
The blossoms are top-heavy and stretch up exuberantly for six, seven, even eight days on their narrow stalks before flopping clean over to trail their rosy faces in the dirt.
It’s sad, and I do feel sorry for them - sort of - but what did they think? You have to conserve your energy in summer, especially when you get a summer like this one where an hour after sun-up you feel like you’re in a Shrinky-Dink oven set to 500°.
This year our grass went brown before the second week in July. The normally-moist soil under the shrubs turned to dust and about blew away.
Then that new little tree the local nursery planted for us in early ‘09 began losing all its leaves.
I called them right up after taking a picture and emailing it to them.
“Water it! Water it now and every other day,” the woman on the phone said.
“But I thought you just had to water a tree for the FIRST year of its life.”
“Open your eyes!” she said back. “It hasn’t rained in a month and your tree is dying!”
So…. I watered it.
Then I looked around some more and noticed the little dogwood that we’d planted back in ’07 when the old cherry finally died on us. It looked thirsty too so I started in watering it.
Then I went out and bought a couple of old-style sprinkler and two separate hoses and took to moving them here and there.
Now all I do practically is monitor things on the irrigation front.
Because when I did finally open these dim eyes of mine I began to notice suffering. And when you notice suffering in one place you notice it everyplace and you find yourself doing what you can to alleviate it.
And once that happens you might just as well have fallen in love with weeding itself because there’s a task you can never come even close to completing.
Write to Terry at email@example.com or at P.O. Box 270, Winchester, MA 01890. Visit her blog Exit Only to read more and look at pictures at www.terrymarotta.wordpress.com.