Gardening: Poor Worms

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.

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