It doesn’t. Unless you count the weeds that explode with primeval lushness in my yard during Florida’s “growing season.”
We try to keep up with the encroaching overgrowth by weeding at least once a week. I hate weeding. It is exhausting. It is physically painful. It is also frustrating because it is so darn relentless. I swear that as soon as I pull one weed out of the ground, another one springs up in its place. The weeds and I are in a race to see if I can pull faster than they can grow. The weeds are winning. Every now and then, as I contemplate the futility of my task, I consider forgetting the whole thing and telling people I am going for the “wild, naturalistic” look for my garden. Two things keep me from doing that. First, I don’t think the homeowners’ association would buy my story. Second, I am concerned that, if too much overgrowth takes hold, my yard will become a haven for creepy crawly creatures that can hide amongst the weeds- creepy crawly creatures like bugs, lizards, and snakes. Heck, I’m pretty sure that if I stopped weeding for a week, dinosaurs would once more walk the earth in my backyard. This time of year, maintaining the weed status quo is a victory.
So I keep weeding. Resentfully, but I keep weeding. When I start a weeding session, I am irritable. When I finish a weeding session, I am just relieved to not have found a brontosaurus in the tangles of the shrubberies.
Don’t get me wrong. I actually love gardens. I love flowers. I love fresh vegetables and herbs. I love butterflies bouncing off blooms. I’ve visited many beautiful arboretums and botanical gardens. One of my favorite places in Washington D.C. is the national botanical garden. I have spent many a happy hour at the flower and garden festival at Disney World’s EPCOT park. I never go to Las Vegas without visiting the gorgeous garden in the conservatory at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. Yes, I love gardens. Unfortunately, I also hate dirt and sweat. The two positions appear to be mutually exclusive. It is all just so much work… hot, dirty work. I think I could almost handle the work itself, if it didn’t involve salty sweat droplets dripping into my eyes and mud embedded under my fingernails.
I think I’ve found a way to resolve “love gardens/hate gardening” dilemma. I kind of cheat.
There is a garden club in our community. I never did anything as madcap as joining it. However, a friend of mine belongs to the garden club and invites me to activities that involve no real work. I’ve visited arboretums and joined the club members on garden tours. I’m not a gardener, but I’m riding the coattails of the gardeners.
I know a number of club members now. It strikes me that they are all perfectly normal, clean people who are somehow able to create gardens without perpetually looking like ragamuffins. I don’t know how they do it. I wash my hands reasonably often. I bathe regularly. Still, I usually find I am picking garden debris off my extremities hours and hours after actually gardening.
It has been really wonderful to immerse myself in the delights of gardens without exerting any effort beyond polite conversation. Also, I’ve enjoyed the club members’ discussions and learned a thing or two. You don’t have to be an artist to be interested in art history. You don’t have to be a gardener to be interested in botany and design. I usually enjoy listening to anyone who is talking about anything for which he or she has a passion. Listening to my talented gardening friends is no exception.
Once in a while, that passion is almost contagious. I flirt with the idea of actually planting something. Then, reason prevails. I forget about subjecting some poor plant to my ineptitude and neglect. It is easier to head to Disney World for the Epcot Flower and Garden festival to get my flower fix. Heck, it is easier to fly 2500 miles to Las Vegas and visit the conservatory gardens at the Bellagio.
Do you garden? What is your experience like? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great growth day!