Definitively not a green Thumb.

Definitely not a green thumb

 

The one thing I don't have is a green thumb. I have a personal aversion to gardening. I love gardens, pristine mown lawns, a water feature. My dearly beloved adores gardening but yours truly gets to dig the holes. I also get to accompany her to nurseries to select the plants. What do I know about these life forms - not much to tell the truth?" Honey are these petunias not too beautiful". Well, here a pink flower, there a violet flower, there a pretty blue. What the hell do I know. So I say "yes dear" and lug boxes of seedlings to the car. Bags of fertilizer, mulch and bone meal too are purchased. This happens at every change of season and the old are ripped up and replaced by the new.

Dahlias

I did not always have this aversion to gardening. My Dad was a great gardener. When I was about 3 we had a magnificent garden. My Dad had these prize Dahlias. They were taller than me. Well I was only three and these plants were pretty high. So high in fact that I could hide out in the Dahlia beds.

In fact My mom was going on about this great watch my dad had bought her. She said it has seventeen jewels. So curious as I was, once I got the opportunity to get hold of this magnificent specimen tha I dismantled it and try I as I might, I could not find any jewels. The closest things to jewels were little red screw heads or bolts (or so they seemed to be to my untrained eye). I left the evidence on the bedroom floor. My Mother on finding the debris started yelling for me. I wisely hid in the cupboard until she came past. I then, hightailed it out to the garden and hid below the dahlias for the rest of the day.

When Dad got home from work, Mom told him of my watch making exploits and the two set out to find me. I was well concealed but my treacherous hound Trix decided to come and play with me revealing my bolt hole. I had a sore backside for a few days after that exploit I might add. Of course in today's PC world, I would probably have come off unscathed. So a love of the garden certainly did not save my bacon on that occasion.

The new Garden

When I bought my first house, around forty years ago, it was quite far out of town, in a fairly rural setting. This new house was set on about a half acre of ground ( about 1000 square meters) with quite a lot of land surrounding the house . This was bare earth with some veldt (field grass and scrub). My ex declared that we needed a garden. Now all the money had gone into the house. We did not realize that the task of setting up the garden would fall to us. I don't know , I guess I just sort of thought this would happen by itself (sort of). Well the rude awakening came. This virgin earth would require breaking up, turning and planting of lawn. Well guess who had to do the backbreaking sod turning, yep you got it right! Me. Once this task , which took some 4 weekends to achieve, was over, we need to rake it and level it. Now it needed grass. Now fortunately in South Africa, we have a hardy grass called Kikiuyu which grows prolifically. You could offer to trim your neighbor's lawn and take the trimmed bits and plant them. You could also drive a ways out to the farms nearby and take cuttings near the streams. Well did this backbreaking digging and collecting, which we replanted in rows in the newly prepared garden.

Watering and nurturing.

After this was done, we had to water and watch these rows slowly spread and knit together over time. This was akin to watching the hands on an analogue watch move, or watching paint dry. As more grass spread my ex continually got me to dig out beds for shrubs, roses and trees. So my blood, sweat and tears living in the grass, were seemingly arbitrarily removed to make holes (or beds a she called them). We got cuttings from friends and neighbors as well as planting rose pruning's which had sprouted in coke bottles filled with water, Could not always get the darn things out and had to bust the bottle so as not to damage the roots. We also took willow tree cuttings and likewise got hem to sprout roots. We had no hormone powder or any of the fancy stuff you get today.

Downside of nurturing.

This grass grew sideways and started to knit. But it also grew upwards and now required mowing. We inherited an old Briggs and Stratton mower from my father in law and finally the day came to cut this lawn. So we spend all our time digging, leveling and planting, struggling to find sufficient grass and now we are cutting, digging, trimming and keeping the grass out of the beds. Human beings are crazy! At any rate over time we had quite an acceptable garden.

The Pool

Over time, the children started to grow and we decide that a pool would be a nifty addition to the garden. However, the area where the pool would go, by now had a few rows of fruit trees and we thought how pretty the setting with trees and the pool would be. Deciduous trees and a ;pool. Ok don't give me that "you should have known' grin. We did not realize and learned the hard way. But first lets talk about the pool. Well building a pools is a story all on it's own! By now income streams were a little better and we could afford a contractor. So we did the necessary and signed a deal . Our land, unbeknown to us, had a huge Boulder about 50 meters round (it really was big) that had to be blasted for the pool. We only discovered this subterranean boulder once was digging for the pool had commenced This blasting resulted in a permanent crack on one of our house walls. The pool had to be bigger than planned (this was oops number 2). We had delays because after 4 years of drought we had tremendous downpours. The concrete used in the pool got a thorough soaking and curing. I doubt weather that pool ever developed cracks or leaks! Of course the fine print meant all of these trials and tribulations needed us to pay the school fees (ie pay the piper - the poolman- for learning about the pitfalls of building a pool and signing a contract!)

Once we got through a season we learned about deciduous trees, fruit on the lawn and in the pool and shedding leaves into the pool in the autumn. A Pretty pool in summer but oh what a pain in the fall.

The move

After about 4 years, the children were growing up. The ex decided that we should relocate to an area with good high schools. The farm school near us had outgrown it usefulness. So we sold and made a tidy profit, we bought up, a nicer house, better location, but two things. Firstly, The house was not ready on time (also a newly built home) and we had to move. We lived with my parents or two months and stored all our furniture etc in my dads garage. I won't even talk about that time in my life. Suffice to say "never again".

Second thing, the house was on a much larger piece of ground that had , wait for it, no garden, just clay and shale from the small outcrop on top of which the house was located.

The new garden - again

Well you might have thought once was enough but here we went again! At least we stayed in that house for 24 years!

However now you know my views on gardening.

Comments 34 comments

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

One summer my dad stunted our garden with Miracle-Gro, which is pretty contradictory when you think about it. I do not have much of a green thumb, but I am trying to learn more about it. Thanks for the entertaining hub.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Sweetie Pie thanks for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated.


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 8 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

Not a green finger, from your hub I gathered that. Interesting Hub.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

So now you know. The secret is out!


mulder profile image

mulder 8 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

To great minds think alike sixtyorso I just finshed a hub about my garden lol I big fan of seasol myself it like viagra to the garden if you know what I mean lol another great hub sixtyorso I like this one .


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

Sixty, it should have been much easier the second time! Didn't you know that children (especially high school age children) were made for lawn and garden work? By the way, my thumb is noe greener than yours. Grass, flowers, house plants; they all die in my care. I gave it all up, when I succeeded in killing a cactus.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Mulder thanks for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated

BT Yes it did get easier and my eldest son became a champion mower. But somehow they always had homework or extracurricular activity. They also used Ma to protect them. Funny how they always had time for a "quick swim" though. I nearly put that bit in about killing a cactus too! (snap).

BTW I had a friend who concreted his lawn area and painted it green. No more mowing. Another colleague (a bit wealthier) astroturfed his lawn area and just washed it off with a hose from time to time.

I will bet that between you and I, we would have succeeded in keeping the concrete and astroturf alive!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

They say the devil is in the details.   LOL  I'm so sorry, but I did laugh and laugh, your life sounds so much like ours....fools rush in...and we always thought we were doing the right thing.  I swear, the angels in heaven must laugh at us little ones on earth as we scurry doing this and that and seldom get it right.

I've been told, forget about the destination, -- just enjoy the journey.  LOL 

I love your stories, Clive!!   good to have you back on the hub.

(Your gardening reminds me of the time I planted asparagus upside down. Okla has great soil in some areas and red clay in others. we fight the red clay. When I was young, I had so many irons in the fire, I foolishily thought I had time for a garden...about halfway thru it I was praying for Locusts to come. The okra and pickles just kept growing and growing and no one would come and pick it for us when we were done. All our friends wanted us to pick it and bring it to them....the lazies!!

Now, I want a garden again, I swear I'll be smarter. Honest. really. I know how to plant asparagus now, and I can kill a pickle really fast.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Marisue I am encouraged by and love your enthusiastic comments to my hubs. you give me such a boost. Thank you so much for being such a loyal supporter.

You are so right about plunging in and doing without knowing the consequences but that is life. If that is life I sure as hell have lived it and lived it to the full!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

sixty, I have a black thumb. There is not one green spot on my thumb at all. I kill every plant that I am around. I have been banned from garden centers in the state of Oklahoma and other states are probably prepared for me if I should decide to visit them. It's awful.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Really funny hub sixty. That's the thing about gardens, you never ever finish them and get a chance to simply sit down in them and enjoy the fruits of your labour :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

"This grass grew sideways and started to knit.' - I'm laughing at this image! You ahve lifted my day. :)


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA

yeah hardscaping is the thing now, with the grass taking so much water & all. A garden is truly a project. But mine gives me food and I like that so I continue.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

Dude, my wife made me do the same sh-t.  I HATE gardening.  Like you said, "cutting random holes" in the grass to put in "beds" is exactly how I feel.  When we moved into this house, I told my wife, "If you want a garden, it's going to be your problem.  I don't do gardens.  You want me to handle the back yard, it's going to be concrete and planter boxes." 

So, it took me three weekends to get the sprinklers in and the topsoil laid and all that crap.  The dirt was so hard we (my oldest son and I) broke three trenchers cutting the lines for the pipe. 

/sigh

Worst part is, you've seen the pictures of it now in my hub lol.  All that work for naught. 

Anyway, thanks for dredging up all those sore memories.  ROFL

(Fun hub as usual, Sixty.  Thanks for a delightful read.)


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

Perhaps we should assemble the Brotherhood Of The Black Thumb. Or Cactus Killers anonymous.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

B.T, dude, how do you kill a catcus? You water it with battery acid or something?


Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

My next house will have a patio. Full stop, no beds, no bots nothing concrete thats it Il loathe gardening -


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Gwendymom, Yes I am afraid I am with you there.

Misty exactly my point. Now I prefer to simply sit and enjoy and not participate.if at all possible

Patty thanks as always for your support and encouragement. It boosts my ego no end

Hot Dorkage. I tried the food thing once and the herb thing, but somehow you always get too much of something and not enough of the other, resulting in a tangled mangle!

Shades from you I appreciate the praise and the amazing empathy we seem to have. Painful memories indeed. I had to build a fence in my first house and decided that a rustic pole fence anchored by natural rock would be the answer. I lost my one and only remaining friend during that project (er I am busy next weekend and forever after that!). Also in going to the veldt to pick up rocks I encountered my old nemesis the snake who slithered out between my legs and dissapeared! The brown mark on my legs were not suntan! I was also remarkably pale for someone working in the sun continually!

BT consider it done and I appoint you Grand Wizard of the Brotherhood Of The Black Thumb. Or Cactus Killers anonymous. GWBOTBT (CKA)! You may appoint your officers.

Lissie Shades would be the man to help you. See his patio.


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

Sixty, I do not need to be Grand Wizard. Treasurer will suffice, for me. Grand Wizard carries far too many responsibilities. I fear I could not possibly give my full attention to the position, while trying to rule... I mean lead the U.S.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Ruling while getting that black thumb amputated by the Electric Eel Union. How about a robotic paw like Luke Skywalker and his Dad Darth?


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 8 years ago from Florida

Great gardening hub from the man who doesn't like gardening!! I can understand why!!!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

BT Ok But we still need a Grand Wizard. He can oversea all those with black thumbs and punish green thumbs who attempt to infiltrate our order. I suggest a punishment of cutting off the green thumb and burying it in th garden until it turns black

Patti great! Do you want to be Grand Wizard(ess). Laser light amptutation. I like that

Hi Anna Thanks for stopping by and commenting. A kindred soul indeed


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

I am re-visiting abnd re-reading some hubs, always picking up new points, and I am reminded of a point shadesbreath made about killing a cactus.  We had one that was possessed I think, in Midland Tx.  It grew and grew, over the house and onto the roof, we chopped it and the dang thing spit needles at us, I swear.  the goo oozed and stuck to our bodies, dripping onto the ground and almost morfing into new cactus before our very eyes.  I'm sure it's the alien that we all fear...been here all the time and it will never die.  We dug, and hooked up a rope to the bumper of our car, pulling it over to the ground.  My husband got so "into" the moment, he put on steel toed boots, and two jumpsuits to protect him from needles and cut and stomped for hours. 

I became aware that I, the lover of gentle, truly do have a killer instinct. To no avail.

The damn thing never died, spread to 12 feet in diameter, sprouting babies, new cactus everywhere it had landed from our stomping and chopping...

It was poltergeist of a new kind...we finally moved away.---  well we moved for other reasons,   Maybe.  Maybe it was because of the cactus....the never ending story of the always growing cactus.

I ruined our backyard barbques, no one would come for fear of taking home some kind of witchy seed that would take over their life too.  Of all the plants I can kill just by walking by, this one WOULD NOT DIE.

I should do a hub.   LOL


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Marisue a hub would be great. As I said earlier somewhere: "the attack of the killer tomatoes", sort of, thanks for stopping by again and your lovely story.

Unfortunately you don't quite qualify as a member of the Order of the Black thumb. That dang cactus survived LOL


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

i bet it tried to follow me here to florida --- it could be lurking somewhere....evil spikey thing !! =))


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Beware the killer Cactus. Feed it to the alligators!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Now that's a thought! They are certainly not my favorite species, and they're everywhere!! This is a crazy state. Hot, humid, and full of the creepy alligators who only have one thing on their mind...food.

What am I doing here??? Give me Oklahoma. boomer sooner!!


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

Marisue! Send me the cactus. It will be dead in a week.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Marisue that is why I asked BT to be Grand Wizard of the Brotherhood Of The Black Thumb. Or Cactus Killers anonymous. GWBOTBT (CKA)!

Sadly he declined!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

Sixty, I have used your name in a hub I did. I hope you don't mind. You can check it out here.

http://hubpages.com/holidays/Fun-new-products


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Gwendymom I am honoured and flattered to be counted amongst that elite group of hubbers that have chosen gifts for. i find your gifts hilarious, very appropriate and I really like the way you found a way to address that paticular hubmob topic. You will note I have not yet been able to address that topic . In fact my silence on this topic ia abject!


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 7 years ago from Sydney

For many years I endeavoured to let my mother know that I did not have green fingers.

Finally rebelled at 14 years of age When she came and told me I was wanted on the phone. Threw the pitchfork into the hard ground. Only to find it had gone through my foot. Poisoned foot for 6 weeks.

No more gardening for me.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Mr Marmalde. The lengths some people will go to, to avoid gardening, never ceases to amaze me!. But as an aside, since I wrote this hub, my gardener absconded and I have been reduced to doing the gardening myself. This is my karmic payback for writing this hub! do you think my gardener has internet and read my hub!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated.


paul rivas 6 years ago

have to say - this was a great read. well done MR "no green thumb"...

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working