Wednesday, April 21, 2010

G is for Gardening

My first attempts at gardening left me an enemy of the whole entire stinkin' business. My mother thought it would be just a wonderful idea if we kids learned to love the process, so she divided the raised beds at our first house in the U.S into zones and gave us each one. We then selected what we wanted to grow, planted it, and watched it flourish. Yeah, right. More like stab at the concrete-like, sandy substance formerly known as dirt. Try to pry up a section to shove a seed underneath, give up in frustration and tears, only to be told that we need only wet the “soil” and all will be well. Ok, so now I stab the WET, concrete-like, sandy substance and get myself all DIRTY, while trying to pry up a section to shove a seed underneath. She lets me give up. But only for that day. Makes me try again the next day.

We now have more tools. Shovels and rakes and other implements of destruction have been added to our arsenal. I don't recall exactly how long it took us, but it sure seemed forever. We did finally get those stinking seeds planted. I don't even remember what I planted, I just remember it didn't grow. At all. All that frustration for nothing. All it produced was a hatred for gardening so ingrained in my being that even grown up and married, I refused to garden.

That of course didn't stop The Engineer from having a garden. A very large garden. A very large, organic garden. As in home made compost. And straight from his friend's farm fresh manure. Lovely. Lots of our weekends were spent on the garden. Each year I'd hear the dreaded words, “I think I'm going to make the garden bigger this year.”

He of course respected my hatred and didn't make me participate unless I wanted to. He let me do my thing while he roto-tilled, weeded, harvested, canned, blanched, froze, gave away, and stored the bounty of his labor. Each year we had more tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkins, basil, cucumber, eggplant, beans, peas, tomatillos, and broccoli.

Then we moved to this house. Which has a front yard, unlike our first house, which had a sidewalk, and some bushes. He says, “You can have some flowers out front if you want, or I can put some of my tomatoes out there.” I start to wake up. I do not want tomatoes growing in my front yard! Guess I better stop pouting and start working. Because we have a deal. He'll take care of it if it grows something useful. He does NOT do useless, pretty flowers. If I want those, I gotta take care of them. Therefore, we haven't had flowers, yet. Just veggies. Lots of them. But in this new house, I want flowers in my front yard. You know, just to impress the neighbors. So I choose some flowering perennials, and we plant them together, and it's kinda fun. You know, only sorta. Not that I like it or anything. Being out there in the gorgeous weather with your hubby, working together, you know, I could get used to that.

And that's how it started. Now, nine years later, I'm proud to say that my neighbors come to me for advice. Can you believe it? The girl who spent her life hating gardening is now the proud grower of amazing varieties of sunflowers, and roses, of hollyhocks,

daisies, columbine, morning glory

lupins and violets. Who knows all kinds of stuff she never thought she would, and who gets immense satisfaction getting out the whole root of that stupid weed that dared set it's foot in my flower bed.

But that's not all. I'm now friends with the veggies, too. You'll even find me weeding, and harvesting, sometimes even canning and freezing. Just not too much. Wouldn't want The Engineer thinking I'd like to take over or anything. But the garden has gotten so ridiculously big that we now have a harvest party each year right before the first frost. Friends and neighbors come and help us pick it clean.

We feed them, and the kids each go home with a pumpkin.

We light a bonfire in our firepit and make s'mores.

It's a wonderful, festive fall time. So if you're out this way come end of September, drop on by! We'll even send you home with some veggies. After all, we've got plenty to spare.


Linda said...

Great post. I am not a gardener but in my new home I have had some interest in planting some new flowers and some vegies.

Steph said...

We bought a house late last summer. The landscaping was bear. We just planed a bunch of shrubs in the landscaping. We'll be building a garage this summer so we don't really know where we would put the garden yet. Hopefully my husband will want to make it his own because I don't really want to take care of it.

Keri "The Coupon Lady" said...

Your garden is fantastic! My little garden is evidence that I'm still in the learning stage, but I am thrilled every time I see something I planted has actually grown! It is definitely something we can do as a family too.

Jenny said...

I love it! Gardening is so soothing. And you definitely have a green thumb girl. But don't worry...I won't tell the Engineer your dirty little secret!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

haha!!! I must say...I heard your "poutiness" for quite a while into your post :o) haha I had to laugh out loud when you said you dreaded hearing your husband's words... "...a bigger garden." LOL

Would love to have a garden, but not as green a thumb as my mom had. I love your flowers and all the harvest photos! especially the cute little pumpkin by the pumpkins :o)

Blessings & Aloha!

Aging Mommy said...

Lovely story - wow what am amazing vegetable garden your husband built and how nice you now get to share an interest in the garden together. Here where we live it is too hot for much to grow - flowers or vegetables - without lots of water and often we have water restrictions in place so if you plant you have to expect a lot to die!! So I envy you your garden!

Christy said...

Thanks for sending me to this post. I am still in the "hates to garden" mode of life. But I don't have a generous Engineer to do it for us. So every year I try again. It is hard my parents never had a garden, canned or froze anything. I am learning it all from the internet and books.
I love your garden. And that pumpkin, I'd love to take him home!