I avoid my garden, doing the bare minimum so the neighbours won’t call the garden police. I hang baskets, plant a few bulbs – but real gardening – where you peel back the grass, dig out the clay, order a mountain of sterilized top soil and create perfect floral beds - no.
In August I hired some muscular men from Ashford Contracting Group to lay stonework at the front of the house. They stoned over the tawdry annual garden patch by the front porch, laid a curved stone walkway and bordered it with a privet hedge. No more half-baked annuals for me.
Our home builder had plunked down a large rock on the front lawn. It was a great launch pad for the grandkids, but frankly looked like a festering attraction for all the dogs in the neighbourhood. The landscapers dug it down into the soil and carved a garden around it. From a neglected corner in the backyard I transplanted a Hosta my neighbour had given me, a Euonymus from a housewarming gift and a Calla Lily from the grandkids. I encircled the rock. You can see I avoid nurseries, or plans – other than spur-of-moment-this-will-do-that-was-easy.
The landscapers peeled back the sod from a 5 ft x 20 ft area in the backyard . They removed the clay, mashed in some good stuff, bordered it with the bricks I’d saved from the wobbly surrounds of the tawdry front garden, and left. My plan is to grow vegetables next year.
Yes. I will be like a mini-farmer, down to rubber boots and cracked hands. And this time I have a plan. I joined the Markham Garden Club. I could have joined my hometown Stouffville Garden Club, but if I fail, I don’t want them peeking into my yard and sniffing at my defeat. (That’s not true. I joined Markham because my sister will go with me there and I need all the help I can get.) I also subscribed to a magazine called Urban Farm. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? A magazine for postage sized plots and a few veggies? What next? Chickens?
It baffles me that I suffer from garden-avoidance. I come from a gardening family. I ate out of garden plots at home and cottage for my entire youth, and when the raspberries ripened we ate off my grandparent’s garden too. My oldest sister inherited a heritage garden with her heritage house in southern Ontario. It would be a sacrilege if she neglected to appreciate centuries-old roses and goodness-knows-what-else the entire town feels needs preserving. My other sister is a botanical artist and an avid gardener. She has “grow lights” and hands off to me things that I quickly kill. My daughter (who grew up watching her mother avoid gardening) has the family green thumb. There’s always something interesting growing out of glass jars and pots on her window ledges. The flowers in her outdoor gardens are a wonder to behold.
The universe is sending me a message, however. At last week’s gardening club meeting, I bought the guest speaker’s book. She gifted me a homegrown garlic bud, which I learned I can plant in my garden now for next year. Wow. I’m starting with garlic. And if that wasn’t enough, I won a honking great bag of tulip bulbs as a raffle prize. How can I ignore the signs? I’ll keep you posted.