I love fine gardens. And I indeed want a garden that looks like Kew, or at those you see in magazines, all neat and with all the flowers in bloom (all season long, it seems) and never a weed or slug or dying plant in sight.
In that regard I am running a couple of photos of what the garden can look like in fine fettle. Right now it’s still in sort of crappy fettle.
But, I love fine gardens, with the rub being that we don’t have hired serfs or a garden maintenance service, that means we have to do it ourselves. Which in itself means we have to do work. I hate that.
So, yesterday, with a spate of decent weather, we went at it. The garden, that is, as opposed to the good kind of ‘going at it.’ I lifted sod, which is a sodding hard task, and I weeded and we went to a garden supply joint and got big sacks of top soil that weighed about 70,000 kilograms (or 50 lbs in ‘real’ weight) and hoisted them into the SUV and brought them home and unhoisted them and put them in our very old wheelbarrow. The WB screamed in horror (well, it probably needs oiling; no it ‘does’ need oiling) at the indignity, but it handled the task of transporting them to the back yard.
While our backyard is a conventional suburban one, a glance at the task to tame it seems to make it reminiscent of the Downton Abbey estate lands. Yet, we have no forelock tugging and obsequious peasants to tend to our matters. Why don’t we? We’ve led a (sort of) good life.
One of the major chores of our garden is weeding. I hate weeding it. Once, a few years ago, we thought it would be a clever idea to plant some cornflowers. They’re pretty enough; a bit sort of delicate and rural. What we didn’t realize is that cornflowers are as pernicious as dysentery and ultimately about as appealing. We ended up with &%*#@ cornflowers everywhere. Every nook, cranny and crack boasts a clump and they must all be extricated because they’re like the evil plants in Invasion of the Body Snatchers in their prolific nature. I’ve never looked inside them to see if there are little people being formed, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
So, big cornflower extrication took place yesterday. It was hell and it’s still not all done. I also found at the end of the session that my years of muscular disuse doesn’t serve me well. Stuff hurts today. Stuff where I didn’t even know I had stuff hurts.
Gardening is purported to be balm for the soul; you know the benison of getting your fingers in the dirt and all. Like many bits of good advise about healthy behaviors, the process of getting there absolutely sucks. Quit smoking or tend your garden, the inclination is to look towards the end result. It’s human nature. But, folks who are experts about such matters tell us that approach is wrongo, buddy. Like weight-loss, don’t look six months down the road to see what you’ll look like if you eschew your normal per diem two yards of apple strudel. Just cut it out today, and then try again tomorrow. You know, like the AA mantra of ‘just for today’.
Well, I looked at the garden to see what I had done for just that day, and it still looks a bit like shit. Better, but not great.
I’ll see what tomorrow will bring if I’m still capable of walking.
Damn, I wish we had serfs. Anyone looking for some thankless, yet backbreaking labor?