Gardening season is here, and despite all my efforts to have nothing to do with it, I was out watering the plants this afternoon. I have only myself to blame.
I do not like gardening. It’s hot (sunburn, sweat, smell, who needs it?) and requires crouching in uncomfortable positions. There are the occasional run-ins with the carnivorous rose bush behind my house. And the worms – I destroy their comfy little burrows and often inadvertently bisect them, and then I feel bad about it. Poor worms. They weren’t doing anything but helping the soil (somehow – not sure how that works), and then I come along and slice them up. I am their rose bush.
When we bought our house the “back yard” (in Brooklyn it is large enough to qualify as a back yard, but in most of the country it would make no more than a stingy vegetable garden) was entirely plants and dirt. They had taken over, burying what was once a charming little brick walkway and simply swimming with worms, mosquitoes, and far grosser forms of life. There was no going out there without layers of mosquito repellent.
I started planning to pave the whole thing over with some nice bluestone, maybe keep one tree in the corner for color. And suddenly everyone I knew shunned me. I was talking about covering about 200 square feet of dirt but people made me feel like I was personally wiping out a species. And I’m a good environmentalist – I reuse my plastic bags, recycle my aluminum foil, carry one of those colorful metal water bottles everyone has instead of buying plastic.
But I did it anyway. Got a guy who cleared out the jungle, put in some beautiful bluestone, and kept just my Japanese maple and the one flesh-eating rose bush. He said something about watering and mulch – don’t remember much about it. They had flourished for the several years between our purchase of the house and his intervention, so clearly they didn’t need me.
So why am I out there watering plants today? Because now I have two big flower boxes full of flowers, plus a little pot of basil, and instructions from the responsible party (Who else? My mother.) to water them AND the tree AND the bush daily. Plus I have to deadhead the flowers. I didn’t know that was a thing that mothers did, but apparently it just means cutting off the dead parts of the plant. I spent a bunch of money on plants and basil and dirt (yes, I paid for dirt) and a flower pot and pruning shears (the ones I had were straight, which is no good – have to have curved). Then there are all the branches from the neighbors’ trees that I have to pick up and haul out to the street, plus the unforeseen duty of cleaning out the drain to prevent flooding, which inevitably leads to worm-slicing.
I admit that the yard looks better with a few plants in it, and watering the five of them doesn’t take all that long. But it’s the principle of the thing. I was determined to have no outdoor responsibilities whatsoever, but I caved. Friends keep telling me that they love gardening, and I will come to love gardening, and you know what?
Ain’t gonna happen.