amanda_lodden: (Default)
When I left, only a half-dozen plants in my garden had bloomed.

Not so when I came home:










amanda_lodden: (Default)
When I left, only a half-dozen plants in my garden had bloomed.

Not so when I came home:










amanda_lodden: (Default)
Over the weekend, I spent a bunch of time digging around in the dirt, finishing up a new garden bed and starting work on the bed by the patio that I really didn't expect to have to complete this year. Chris wandered by and offered me the services of Marina's 13-year-old son, Jacob. Typically this means that Chris feels Jacob has spent too much time indoors playing computer games and needs to get some exercise, so no matter what I answer the kid will be dragged out and put to work doing something. Still, I normally decline as I'm horribly picky about how my gardens are set up, especially in the initial digging phase, and this doesn't mesh well with having help from disinterested parties who just want to be done so they can go back to playing. But at the time that Chris asked, I had a bunch of dirt that needed to be hauled from Point A to Point B. So Jacob got to haul dirt instead of playing Runescape.

It's worth noting that Jacob has a few characters on John's City of Heroes account, and is well aware of my addiction to the game. During the course of digging, he asked me "Which do you like better, gardening or City of Heroes?"

It's a fair question coming from the kid who got co-opted into helping me whether he liked it or not, but it startled me because when it comes right down to it, I hate gardening. I garden because of the end result, not because I enjoy the process. To me, it's a means to an end. This is why I'm so picky about how a garden is dug initially, because I'm a firm believer in spending the extra time to dig out every single piece of organic material that has the slightest chance of taking root or harboring weed seeds, and then mulching the hell out of the resulting bed. It may take me 10 times longer to dig the bed, but I spend a lot less time weeding it out later on. (This is also why my mother is no longer allowed to plant flowers on my property, because she offered to "help" and then produced gardens that are impossible to maintain because she's fond of roto-tilling the dirt and planting, and then mulching a month later after the weeds have gotten a good hold.)

I'm aware that there's people who believe in leaving the organic material because it will compost and feed nutrients to the wanted plants. I think they're insane.

Nothing gets me through those last few weeks of winter, the ones when it seems like the snow and the cold will drag on forever, than seeing crocuses poking out through the slush. Daffodils make me insanely happy, which is probably why I have about 200 of them planted around the property. Irises remind me of the house we lived in when I was in high school, because my Mom had at least 50 planted around. The huge flowers on the hibiscus behind the pool are gorgeous, and I enjoy just sitting on the patio and looking at the array of colors growing around me. But the actual process of gardening... I get bitten by an array of insects, from mosquitoes to ants. Muscle aches are bad enough that I go through a bottle of ibuprofen every summer, and it's rough on my knees (I've tried kneepads, and they're bloody well uncomfortable). I constantly have random little bruises from where I knelt on a small stone or whacked myself with a tool or found out the hard way where the tree roots grow. I breath so much dirt that blowing my nose afterwards produces nasty black mucus. The idea that some people garden for fun is incomprehensible to me. Of course I'd rather be inside playing City of Heroes, but gardening is my exercise, with a colorful side effect next year. Some people pay $300 a year to join a gym, I pay $300 a year (or quite a bit less, depending on the year) for bulbs and mulch and I go to town.

My reward for this?



These asters were an impulse purchase last fall, when Home Depot had them on a clearance rack because they looked half-dead. I bought four for $1.99 each. Every time I walk by them, I'm tremendously proud, because all four of the half-dead plants bloomed quite well this year:


(The plant in the middle is a rhododendron that was previously planted in an area too shady for it and transplanted this summer; I'm hoping that it will have a similar recovery next year.)
amanda_lodden: (Default)
Over the weekend, I spent a bunch of time digging around in the dirt, finishing up a new garden bed and starting work on the bed by the patio that I really didn't expect to have to complete this year. Chris wandered by and offered me the services of Marina's 13-year-old son, Jacob. Typically this means that Chris feels Jacob has spent too much time indoors playing computer games and needs to get some exercise, so no matter what I answer the kid will be dragged out and put to work doing something. Still, I normally decline as I'm horribly picky about how my gardens are set up, especially in the initial digging phase, and this doesn't mesh well with having help from disinterested parties who just want to be done so they can go back to playing. But at the time that Chris asked, I had a bunch of dirt that needed to be hauled from Point A to Point B. So Jacob got to haul dirt instead of playing Runescape.

It's worth noting that Jacob has a few characters on John's City of Heroes account, and is well aware of my addiction to the game. During the course of digging, he asked me "Which do you like better, gardening or City of Heroes?"

It's a fair question coming from the kid who got co-opted into helping me whether he liked it or not, but it startled me because when it comes right down to it, I hate gardening. I garden because of the end result, not because I enjoy the process. To me, it's a means to an end. This is why I'm so picky about how a garden is dug initially, because I'm a firm believer in spending the extra time to dig out every single piece of organic material that has the slightest chance of taking root or harboring weed seeds, and then mulching the hell out of the resulting bed. It may take me 10 times longer to dig the bed, but I spend a lot less time weeding it out later on. (This is also why my mother is no longer allowed to plant flowers on my property, because she offered to "help" and then produced gardens that are impossible to maintain because she's fond of roto-tilling the dirt and planting, and then mulching a month later after the weeds have gotten a good hold.)

I'm aware that there's people who believe in leaving the organic material because it will compost and feed nutrients to the wanted plants. I think they're insane.

Nothing gets me through those last few weeks of winter, the ones when it seems like the snow and the cold will drag on forever, than seeing crocuses poking out through the slush. Daffodils make me insanely happy, which is probably why I have about 200 of them planted around the property. Irises remind me of the house we lived in when I was in high school, because my Mom had at least 50 planted around. The huge flowers on the hibiscus behind the pool are gorgeous, and I enjoy just sitting on the patio and looking at the array of colors growing around me. But the actual process of gardening... I get bitten by an array of insects, from mosquitoes to ants. Muscle aches are bad enough that I go through a bottle of ibuprofen every summer, and it's rough on my knees (I've tried kneepads, and they're bloody well uncomfortable). I constantly have random little bruises from where I knelt on a small stone or whacked myself with a tool or found out the hard way where the tree roots grow. I breath so much dirt that blowing my nose afterwards produces nasty black mucus. The idea that some people garden for fun is incomprehensible to me. Of course I'd rather be inside playing City of Heroes, but gardening is my exercise, with a colorful side effect next year. Some people pay $300 a year to join a gym, I pay $300 a year (or quite a bit less, depending on the year) for bulbs and mulch and I go to town.

My reward for this?



These asters were an impulse purchase last fall, when Home Depot had them on a clearance rack because they looked half-dead. I bought four for $1.99 each. Every time I walk by them, I'm tremendously proud, because all four of the half-dead plants bloomed quite well this year:


(The plant in the middle is a rhododendron that was previously planted in an area too shady for it and transplanted this summer; I'm hoping that it will have a similar recovery next year.)

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