I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
As this heading suggests, what I am about to share with you is three years' worth of, to say the least, unusual gardening experiences. In retrospect, these were nightmares, because as you will read, each episode had its own story, very unlike what you would find in a gardening book today.
So, please, take a moment, sit down and enjoy.
Year 1, War with the Roses
Back in the early 80s, sometime in early to mid-March, a delivery came to our home. I know I didn't order anything, so I had no clue as to what it could be. Upon opening the door there sat boxes and boxes of things with sticks poking out of them. I asked my hubby if he knew what this was about, and he said, oh, yes, those are the roses I ordered. From where, I asked. Well, from the catalog, he said.
Roses? As in bushes? Yes, 50 of them to be exact. I looked at him and said are you kidding me? What are we going to do with that many roses? He said, plant them. Let's go. Uh, go? Go where? C'mon he said, get the kids so we can plant these. Now? Surely you're kidding, right? No, I'm not, he said. I said, but it's March! It's cold out there! He said, these have to go in the ground now or they'll die.
Well, ok, the last thing I wanted to do was dig holes in the yard, especially in March. I am not your ‘outdoorsy' type person, and truth be told, I don't quite have a black thumb, but green? No way.
Anyway, I rounded up the kids, we got our jackets on and trooped out to the yard. Hubby dug the holes, my son plopped the bushes into the holes, and I think my daughter filled them in. I do not recall how long we were out there, but it was well into the night. Our neighbors must have thought we were certifiably nuts. Picture Dad, son and daughter digging holes in the yard under floodlights, while I just stood there and observed. For all I know, the neighbors may have thought we were doing something very sinister.
The project ended, and in the months that followed, my hubby religiously checked on those bushes, which were planted around the perimeter of the backyard. Personally, I didn't give them anything but a cursory once-over. They appeared to be doing ok, at least there was green sprouting from the sticks. Summer arrives and although the plants hadn't died, neither were they blooming. As I mentioned, I am by no means a gardener, but I never considered that maybe they wouldn't even produce blooms the first year.
Now, fast forward to the ending of summer. I was out in the backyard one day, and lo and behold, I saw no rosebushes. I proceeded to walk around the yard, and all I saw were stumps. Well, apparently either my hubby or son had forgotten they were there and mowed them down while cutting the grass, or, some renegade deer mistook them for decorative antlers. Anyway, when I questioned my hubby about the lack of bushes, he replied, but honey, I never promised you a rose garden. And, that's the truth!
squash borer's fault
Year 2, Not My Hubby's Fault
The following year, my hubby planted a vegetable garden. He planted the usual things, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and peppers.
One day that year, I went and checked on the garden, and I got very excited. We had huge, beautiful zucchinis all over. For whatever reason, I didn't pick any that day. The next day, I decided I should go pick them. I walked out to the garden, and surprise, surprise! No zucchini! Zero, zip, nada! I looked and looked, then realized they were all gone. Upon further inspection, I could tell where they were, but what was left in their place were only their skins. It turns out the zucchinis were attacked by what I imagine were squash worms, who decided to have a grand feast the night before at our expense. They ate every last one from the inside out, leaving behind nothing but the intact skins.
Now, is this endearing me to gardening? I think not. In my hubby's defense, we did get some good tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers that summer.
Year 3, Gardening in the Year of the Fish
On to the third year of our gardening adventures. One day, my hubby's best friend and family came down to spend the day with us. The guys went fishing out on the boat, while we girls stayed behind with our children. Somewhere around dinnertime, the guys arrived back home, and apparently, they had a great day. They had large trash bags filled to the tops with fish. Lots and lots of fish. They went out back to gut and clean their catch. This went on for several hours into the darkness. I asked them aren't you coming in? They said no, they had to clean all the fish or they would go bad.
Ok, now I'm guessing it was well after midnight when they finally finished. They had put all the fish guts, heads, and tails into the large trash bags. Hubby decided it wouldn't be a good idea to throw the bags into our garbage cans or we'd have the town's cat population in our yard, licking their chops and meowing at the moon. So, in a stroke of genius, he says, I know, we'll bury them; it will make great compost for next year's garden. He carefully picked the spot where he wanted the next year's garden, and he and his buddy dug a hole. They dumped the fish remains in and buried them.
The next year arrived, and once again it was time to garden. Our same friends came down, and hubby and his buddy started to dig up the area where they buried the fish remains the previous summer. Oddly, as they tried to dig, the pitchforks and shovels weren't breaking up the dirt. After several attempts, voilà, one of them finally hit pay dirt, at which point they jumped back and began retching. What they uncovered were the fish parts they buried, not spread evenly amongst the dirt as they had expected, but still encased in the black trash bags which had not disintegrated. The remains were the same as the day they filled the bags, and as nasty and smelly as the day they were caught.
We bypassed a garden that year.
my idea of gardening
Do I want to venture once again into gardening? No, thank you. I so admire people who love doing it, and yes, I am envious of their bounty, whether it be flowers or food. For me, i saw that gardening was a lot of work, a lot of maintenance, as well as a combination of success and failures. My contribution to the gardening was in preparing the food that it produced.
So, I think I'll leave the gardening to Mr. Green Jeans.