Thursday, July 17, 2008

You know you are a real gardner when...

I love this Norman Rockwell gardening picture. I think anyone who knows me knows that I love Norman Rockwell. I don't have this picture, but I think it is safe to say that I will have it in the future.
I've been thinking about all of the things I've experienced recently that make me a real gardner. The first thing I do when I pull in and out of the drive is to check out my new full sun garden (to the extent of stopping my car and gazing) (what must the neighbors think)? Then, as soon as I change clothes, I run out doors to water. My legs look like a "through-hiker's" legs. (Appalachian Trail Through Hiker - eaten up with mosquito bites.) My hands are familiar with the way the shovel handle feels and my palms have responded to this repetitive motion by growing a thicker covering of skin - "working woman's hands," I call them. After a planting session that becomes hours long, my back aches so badly that I can't straighten up or stand or sit. I have more receipts in my purse from places I've purchased plants than anywhere else. I bought a tarp to put in my car for hauling dirt or plants. (Never mind that Duggles has already absconded said tarp.) Now, I buy organic "gardening" tees. I worry about my plants when I'm gone for the weekend. When it rains I think "oh yay, I don't have to water."
In my garden it is peaceful. The birds are singing. (The neighbor is yelling at his dog, Christmas.) A cool breeze blows. Or, it doesn't, and sweat is running down my face. Now, when I plant, I carry a bandanna to swab my brow, or just put it around my head to keep the sweat from running down into my eyes.
Nothing thrills me more than picking flowers from our yard to arrange in an old Ball Jar with a wire clasp. It sits on the kitchen table and as fast as he can, Milo jumps up to nibble the grasses. (Then just as promptly as he swallows, he barfs them back up onto the hardwood floor in the living room - Thanks, Milo.) Nothing thrills me more than seeing the bumble bees on the coniferous flowers and butterflies flitting about. I think to myself I did that! I brought those bees and butterflies into our yard!
I was looking for a gardening quote and found this one that describes me well:
Gardeners are - let's face it - control freaks. Who else would willingly spend his leisure hours wresting weeds out of the ground, blithely making life or death decisions about living beings, moving earth from here to there, changing the course of waterways? The more one thinks about it, the odder it seems; this compulsion to remake a little corner of the planet according to some plan or vision.- Abby Adams, What is a Garden Anyway
Doug brought some water out to me recently when I didn't have sense enough to go into the house to get some and I said
"Isn't it a little crazy - the way I dig the dirt up and put some back, I pull the rocks from the earth to put them back, I pull stray plants and weeds out - only to put other plants back?"
It is a crazy obsession. Anyone who knows me would describe me as a control freak anyway (Laura says: "You aren't as bad as you used to be), but they don't know what they are talking about. In my garden, even with the desire for control, I can go a little crazy and get muddy and sweaty and dirt under my nails and stay out until dark - literally. As the sun sinks below the horizon I'm silently saying to myself "if only I had a little bit more time." Doug came home recently around 9:30, just about the time it is getting dark and as he pulled in, he saw the outline of my body in the garden in the beam of his headlights and he told me that he thought "WHAT is she doing???"
Gardening. That is what a real gardener does.
P.S. to yesterday's post: As much as I would love to head to Portland, Oregon to live with Miss Cozy Posy, I'm staying put. Bradley said "that was mean- entitling your post "I'm leaving Doug." Aw.

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