At long last, I'm ready to plant the garden.
First day: Slept too late for the co-op’s plant sale, as I have done every year since I moved here. So I went to Garden World where I could spend lots more money. Since I’m unemployed, I have more time to lay out and plant this year’s annuals, so I cart the boxes from the car to the stoop, the stoop to the living room, where the cats gather round. New smells. While they investigate, I carry in the bag of mulch and a bag of topsoil with a tiny tear in one corner.
Once Chick and Wilbur decide the petunias should be chewed in addition to smelled, I move the flats outside. No matter, they have the topsoil bag to roll around on, to smell, to test. The cats have found a new friend. It’s soft without being mushy, so Millie wants to keep it.
Second day: The plastic crates out back reveal half a bag of topsoil from last year and my gardening basket with a couple pairs of gloves, soft green fabric ties for the spent tulips, pruning sheers, and other hand tools. The cats gather at the back door following my every move out there -- for the first half hour or so. Then they get bored. If I’m out there, the squirrels aren’t, so the cats only check on me occasionally. While I’m dragging leaves and vines out of places they never should have blown to but did, one or the other comes to the window or the back door to check on me. Millie complains that I put the big blue tub (for ice and therefore beer and soda, not bathing) on the table where it blocks her view out the kitchen window. I move it.
Pruning, raking, pulling out ivy vines (this is an annual activity, one day they’ll just take over everything), sneezing, pulling the larger weeds only to reveal many more, a sweaty hour and a half goes by quickly. After lots of sneezing and some choking (lots of fine particulates out there), I come in for a break. I see that the cats did not like the topsoil bag for its smelly contents alone. They also liked the plastic covering on something soft, so once again they’ve dragged the big Ziploc bag containing bed pillows out of the closet. I stuff it back into the farthest corner of the closet in hopes it’ll be safer there.
After another two hours out there “cleaning,” I laid out the plants where they’ll live, cleaned the tools, set the sprinkler, and now I can happily call it a day. Sunday or not, much other work to be done.
Third day: All the preparation done, today is for planting. A yellow Butterfly Argyranthemum, orange dahlia, ordinary impatiens and New guinea Impatiens, purple petunias and white ones, Heliotrope marine, and a Crown Blue Wishbone Flower. All the topsoil used, all the mulch. After two hours bending and crouching, digging and turning, my legs and back ache, but I want to finish so that for the rest of spring and summer, I can sit in my little yard and stare.
Certainly all non-living things still need sweeping, scrubbing, and rearranging, but the vital part, the plantings, is done. From today on, I can sit out back and gaze at my flowers. Through spring and summer, I’ll sit … and spot a weed. And another, and another, and another. Ah, the joys of gardening.
~ Molly Matera, signing off to make a cup of tea and sit out back and stare….