Friday, August 26, 2011

Neglectful thumb

Good southern women like to dig in the dirt. As I am a good southern woman, I like to dig in the dirt. Gardening is one of those things that you either do well or you do poorly, there really is not a lot of in-between.  I mean come on, your plants live or they die. That is fairly cut and dry.

I have some friends who are very intense gardeners. They get seed catalogs, and know the proper time of year to plant what plants, and how to properly space them, and all the other stuff that goes with gardening. I am more of a passive gardener. I like the idea of gardening, but I have simply never gotten around to really apply myself to gardening.

For one thing there is no suitable place at my house to grow things. The general placement of the house combined with the intense amount of shade in both the front and backyard (caused by lots of lovely trees) make for less than ideal growing conditions. Add into that the dog who will eat anything and the squirrels who love to dig up my potted plants and you pretty much have a no growing zone. I have had some mild success with the flower bed in my front yard though.

Mild might actually be an overestimate of my success.

I lost a lot of blood to these plants.
You see I am not certain I can make the claim that I had anything to do with what is growing in the garden other than the fact that I put it there in the first place. A little over a year ago the husbeast dug up the evil hateful spiky plants of doom that I hated so very much. The leaves were like razors and every time you brushed against them they would slice you open. That and they were just ugly and looked really out of place in the yard.

It only took about twenty minutes before the husbeast had thwarted the evil plants. I had a nice big open space with which I could build a new garden. I was so very excited. We went to Home Depot and got all the things we would need to build a flowerbed, along with some plants to put in it. I chose some pretty hybrid verbena and some other stuff that I thought I might like. I read all the tags, and asked some questions, and it seemed like this would all do very nicely.

I have to say I was very happy with how the little garden turned out. It was colorful and pretty which are really my two main concerns about my garden. I was very dutiful in taking care of my garden. I watered it when I was supposed to, I kept the squirrels out of it as best I could, I weeded it when needed, all in all typical garden stuff. Of course we live in Texas and it is stupid hot here. So come September my garden was pretty much done for. Considering I planted it in June though, that wasn't bad. I accepted it was time, and let it die.

I really didn't think much of it after that. I planned on leaving it empty until the spring. It was late October when I noticed that the verbena had started to blossom again. I was a little confused, but hey, who am I to argue with nature. It only lasted a few weeks, and it was only one of the dozen plants I had planted, so I just figured it was a fluke.

We had an unusual winter. It snowed. It snowed a lot. Sure in Texas any snow is a lot, but seriously it snowed multiple inches on multiple occasions. That is a lot. I figured if anything was still viable in that bed the cold had killed it. After everything thawed out my flower bed was nothing but a pile of dead leaves. I know I should have cleaned it out, but what can I say, I am lazy.

Then one day as I was coming into the house from work in late March, I noticed under the blanket of dead brown leaves there was a little spot of purple. I thought for certain I was mistaken. I went over and gently started pulling the leaves away. After five minutes of careful work I found the verbena in full bloom. Now I haven't looked twice at this flowerbed in nearly 6 months, and we had a hard winter, and here is this little plant flourishing. I called it the super flower, and sort of moved on with my life.

Fast forward to this past June. Faire had ended and I finally had time to do some gardening. My little verbena of doom was happy and healthy with no help from me. I figured if I could get more of the same and fill the bed with it, I would never have to do anything to have a lovely garden. Sadly I couldn't find any more of it. I did however find some Mexican Heather which I was told was incredibly sturdy. So I got a few pots and planted it on the front porch along with a cherry tomato plant I was experimenting with.

I did everything I was supposed to do with these dumb plants and they all died within two weeks. Well actually the tomato plant lived but it never produced anything. The heather and the verbena (which I had started to water) both died. Call me frustrated. I managed to kill a plant that had survived fine on its own, and another that was supposed to be really sturdy. I blamed it on the ridiculous heat and moved on.

I have not watered or paid any attention to my poor dead garden since the beginning of July when I decided it was dead. If you were to look at my garden right now you would see my verbena is flourishing and the heather is slowly coming back to life. Apparently I am a great gardener, when I am not actually involved in my gardens.

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