Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Secret Garden

Here is my secret about the garden:  I have no idea how to grow one!  I can barely grow my hair.  

I am fairly certain I have a black thumb.  It is such a shame.  My grandfather had a beautiful garden that he tended to with such precision.  Petunias in a row, red flowers here, yellow flowers there.  It was literally in rows, he was a Taurus so very exact. 

My great-auntie had the most wonderful hodge podge garden that she had continued from her mother.  I used to sit in the back while her and my grandmother drank coffee, picking yellow raspberries in the same spot my great-grandmother used to sit.  Auntie B would walk hunched through her garden, happily chirping about all her flowers, to which she knew the names.  I can remember petunia because that is what my mum calls me (and my dog.  that's right, I share the same pet name as my pet) but that is it.

My grandmother had a vegetable garden full of heavenly treats of fresh carrots, peas, onions and potatoes (that she would make into cream vegetables, totally taking away from any nutritional value but SO FREAKING GOOD!!!).

My mother has a garden with fresh herbs, vegetables and sunflowers. My dad is a farmer for crying out loud.  But me?  My cousin gave me a plant once that lasted about 2 months.  

I have a nice patio in the city and this year I feel the urge to grow things on it.  My own urban oasis.  I went to the garden store to select flowers and herbs.  I got a big orange cart and slyly followed an old lady around the aisles of greenery to get pointers.  All I got from her was a used kleenex she dropped in my cart.  

I noted that there are annuals and perennials.  I think annuals are flowers you grow once a year and perennials are seasonal?  But isn't summer the only time things grow?  I also noted that there are plants that have a full sun sign and others that have a half-sun sign.  I opted for half-sun.  I get lots of sunshine on my patio but then the sun moves in the afternoon - will my flowers die?  But what happens if it is rainy for a while, will the sun sign flowers die?  What if I let them use my S.A.D. lamp?

I picked up some varieties.  Petunias, of course.  A yellow flower.  A pink flower.  Some enticements.  Or something that started with an 'e' or was it impatience?  Anyhoo, I had a cart full.  Then I got some herbs:  chives, rosemary and sweet basil.  Time for the soil.  I picked out a bag of nicely fertilized black stuff (we have to pay for this even though I could go get it free from my farm?). Then I started to look for things to put this all in, like pots.  That is when the panic set in.  Oh god, ummm, how many do I need?  Can all the herbs go in one pot?  Do the sun sign ones need their own taller pot?  How often do I need to water things?  Where are the watering cans?  Is normal water okay?  Or do they need filtered water?  What about the soil?  I once heard you can put pennies in the soil, why do I have to do that?

I paused and looked around me.  Two Home Depot men were joking by the shrubs.  Oh god, should I get a shrub?  The old lady was being led to the cashier by her daughter who scolded her for picking too many things.  Do I have too many things?  Too little?  I couldn't handle this.  I am not Mary Mary quite contrary.  I slowly stepped away from the cart.  I pretended I was looking at seeds as the Home Depot men walked past my abandoned cart.  Then I took a step towards the fountain, the lone cart getting further and further away; blocking the small tree aisle.  Can I grow a small tree on my patio?

It was too much, I ran away.  Well, walked very quickly.  If there is a Home Depot man reading this, I apologize for making you return my discarded flowers but I had no choice.  I think I will just buy bouquets instead.  Or at least wait till my mum comes for a visit, she'll know what to do. 

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