Now that the snows have melted and the rains have stopped, it's been a good time to get the old hands dirty and work outside. To tend to a garden is such a romantic notion: sitting quietly in the grass with a big floppy hat, a small metal bucket that holds matching garden tools and a well-loved pair of gloves. Meanwhile the bees visit flower after flower and the butterflies flitter-flutter merrily in the sunshine.
My gardening experience is vastly different. I garden with whatever beat up gloves I can find, no hat (hat hair), skunky tennis shoes and a shovel. There's nothing genteel about it. It's more like commando gardening.
"You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt."
Small, picky gardening is not for me. I admire the weeds that so skillfully intertwine themselves around individual plant stems. But I just don't have time to untangle each and every one, so sometimes the baby gets thrown out with the bath water, horticulturally speaking. Luckily, GramTuna enjoys hunting down weeds stem by stem and root by root, so I pick up my shovel and walk to the big patches of mess, leaving the intricate work to her.
This patch has shovel written all over it.
"Earth laughs in flower."-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whether you are tending to- or battling with- a garden, they are very versatile and provide something for everybody. Do you like mysteries? Gardening is for you. Flowers show up in the strangest places. Take this little guy. I know sometimes we are pressed for space, but I am quite certain we did NOT plant anything in a window well. Will we move it? Oh probably. Well, maybe. It doesn't look half bad, though, does it?
Sometimes flowers pick themselves up and walk somewhere else, sometimes they invite a bunch of their friends over for an extended stay. Sometimes they just up and leave, without ever saying goodbye. On the one hand, it's best not to get too attached, but then again, something else might show up in its place, or you can buy another one to replace it. But be warned: stubbornness in gardening will not always be rewarded. After three or four or ten tries, if the plant isn't going to grow, it's time to move on. Stupid Foxgloves.
"A weed is only a misplaced plant."
And then, there are weeds. Oh, the weeds. The weeds, everywhere the weeds. The dandelions, the thistles, the Creeping Charlie. The weeds you pulled yesterday, root and all, that show up a few days later. The weeds that poke you, the weeds that blow their seeds all over kingdom come, the weeds that just wait for you to turn your back and then SPROING!
You see, sentimental weed quote or not, weeds actually try to impress you. Maybe it is their stealth or their cunningness. Maybe it is a pretty flower waving above stems of killer prickers. Maybe it is their killer cuteness as they are clutched in the chubby hands of a three-year old who wants to pick flowers for mommy.
OK--that is killer cute and nobody can hate on dandelions in the chubby hands of a three-year old who wants to pick flowers for mommy. But weeds, my shovel and I say you're still annoying.
Flowers are an army of amazingness. They come in an infinite number of colors and shapes and sizes and there is always something new to add to the family. If you plan it right, something will be blooming all the time, beginning with the earliest crocuses peeking out from the melting snow. Although the crocus, daffodils and tulips have come and gone, we are full of later spring flowers.
Commando gardening may be a bit brutal, but the results are pretty damn cool. And who knows, once my shovel and I put some hurt on the more unruly parts of the garden, we'll have even more friends to sit and enjoy as the bees and butterflies frolic.
Maybe I'll even buy a floppy hat.
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