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.
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.
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.
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.