Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Sometimes Gardener

This picture is a good metaphor for my gardening:

Notice that the tomato plant which has recently departed for that big flower pot in the sky, was alive just long enough to produce a single tomato!

That sums up my gardening habits. I start out enthusiastically. Every spring and fall I get the itch to plant things. We usually make a trip to a local nursery, purchase some herbs and flowers, and this year, tomato plants. Then we get home realize that we need to weed and mulch since we haven't done so since my last "planting itch" which was six months prior. Then we get started weeding, but never finish in one fell swoop, and then other commitments crowd out that initial gardening enthusiasm, and pretty soon it's been two months, and all our new plants are dead in their pots on the patio. Some of them were able to produce a nice blossom or fruit in their final gasp of life. 

I want to have a green thumb. I really do. My problem is I haven't found a way to work even a little gardening into my routine.

I find it inconvenient to get sweaty and covered with dirt in the course of a normal day. Because that  necessitates a shower which is sometimes difficult to come by. Also, since our garden is out front facing the street there's really nowhere for John to play if I wanted to garden while he's awake. After the kids are in bed, I'm usually not in the mood for much manual labor, or (in the winter) it's already dark. And, (I've got a multitude of excuses!) it's currently summer in Texas which means I'm preparing to chain myself to the box fan and not venture outdoors until September.

In my defense, this year we purchased plants right around the time Isla was born so I have a better-than-usual excuse for letting the garden fall by the wayside. 

Last summer was brutal here. I got pregnant and started feeling queasy and generally stopped acknowledging that our plants existed.Yet many of them pulled through. I was surprised! Some are actually doing quite well. If you live in Texas and you're looking for plants that have been victors of Survivor: Flora Edition, these are a few:

Valentine Roses
Belinda's Dream Roses
Texas Primrose
Republic of Texas Orange Tree
Satsuma Mandarin Tree 
Dutchman's pipe vine

Many of these are natives, which might explain why they were able to withstand such drought and heat. These plants will require no effort from you. Or, at least, mine don't from me. They are self sufficient. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I watered last summer. And we had no rain. And you could fry an egg pretty much anywhere there was no AC running constantly. And these plants pulled through! Not only that, many of them came out looking lovelier than ever. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, they say. Apparently so for my plants.

This is one of my favorite flowers:

Belinda's Dream roses.These are not the best pictures but these flowers make gorgeous cuttings for a vase. I cannot believe that such a pretty flower is possible with nearly total neglect from the gardener. 

This year I tried my hand at tomatoes which was questionably successful depending on your definition of success (we did harvest one tomato after all!). We still have one living tomato plant which may produce in the fall if it makes through this summer's survival of the fittest boot camp. (I'm going to try to water, I really am. John loves to do it but he wields the hose in such a way that nothing in close proximity can stay dry which, again, It's not convenient for me to finish each watering session sopping wet.)

I would love to be gardener. I would especially love to grow my own vegetables. I tell myself it will be easier if I ever have a yard and can get outside to weed and such while the kids frolic about without the threat of being run over by a car.We'll see, maybe gardening just isn't my forte but I'm not willing to give up yet! I'll be sure to post an update on my tomato plant in the fall. Maybe we'll have a bumper crop! (I'm not holding my breath.) 

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