Gardening… what do you think of when you hear the word “gardening?”   I think of a lot of sweat, dirt, tennis shoes, callused hands, strange bugs, asking “Where is my shovel?”  Good hard labor.

It so happens that I love to get my hands dirty whenever I can.  That is when I have no kids to feed, entertain, change diapers, etc.  You get the point.  It’s almost impossible without my husband or someone around to allow me to go outside.  When I finally do get an extra set of hands/arms, going to the garden is the last thing on my list, unfortunately.  I’m more likely to a) research my next career, b) do dishes or c) shower.  My life has very little wiggle room for electives.

Nonetheless, I have finally commenced my journey into the world of gardening.  No, not by myself. With the help of my mom.

Hello curb appeal!
Isn’t it beautiful? 

My mom is an excellent gardener.  She puts everything into her plants and her yard.  I remember one time when I was taking the girls down the sidewalk heading to the park, a lady on a beach bike stopped in the driveway with a basket hooked to her handlebars.  I thought it was weird so on my way to the park I called my mom and told her “There is a lady stopped in front of your house and she looks suspicious.”  Later I found out that she had her pet bunny in her basket and she was merely looking to take some photographs of her bunny in my mom’s garden.  What a compliment!  And what a weird request.  I don’t think I’d ever get the nerve to ask such a question.  There are plenty more stories like that too, which just goes to show if you grow it they will come.

Anyway, my mom put some work into my yard.  She was hacking and clipping,digging and snipping… There is a lot to be said about how much time she spent in the yard.  Especially with the heat index so high!  She put on a ball cap, one of my husband’s t’s and some old work shoes that she planned to bring ahead of time.  There’s no mistaking her for wanting to go the tourist route, as she unpacked her vehicle upon arrival.

One of my Crape Myrtles.  Look, it bloomed!

It is hard to explain to my own mom why I can’t make it out to water my poor Crape Myrtles or why the flower bed on the side of the garage was in dire shape when she arrived.  She has been doing her landscaping, potting, experimenting, watering, pruning, all of that since we have been teenagers.  Or at least for as far back as my 29-year-old-brain can remember.  I on the other hand have just gotten started and it wasn’t really of my own accord.  (My flower beds and lawn were under attack when she got here.)  I have two kids who constantly need my attention, and a third who could probably care less if my avocado tree was watered.  Bottom line: I don’t get out much.

With all the work that my mom has done, I am afraid to let her efforts be vain.  I now have to force myelf outside to take care of the newly refurbished flower beds and plants that surround my house.

My avocado tree.  We will see how long it survives.  There’s also some garlic along the fence line with some irises, and sweet potatoes.

Let me tell you what this is like. Watering must happen before the sun rises, and after the sun sets.  Twice a day for most plants.  This means waking up before the crack of dawn, probably the same time farm hands wake up to collect freshly laid eggs and milk the cows.  It means making sure I at least get a shower in before I start my day because I won’t get another chance til late late late at night. I have to sneak downstairs, try to grab a bite if it’s not too early for my stomach, and then head outside.  Half an hour to forty-five minutes later, job is done.  Evenings are not so easy.  Kids have to eat dinner.  Bathe. Dress. Be entertained for a bit before I try to put them down. (They never go down at the same time)  And I’m always hoping they go down early so I don’t have to spend that half an hour to forty-five minutes under a nearly-dark sky trying to find the plants while swatting at invisible bugs.

I digress.  Gardening is like a part-time job; time put into it really makes a difference in your pay off.  If you’re really into it, you can turn your yard into a beautiful show of colors all year round.  And there’s no other way to be when it comes to gardening.  You’ll waste your money, time, and effort. 

My mom has built a garden foundation and for that I can be thankful.  And proud.  I no longer feel embarassed about my yard.  Still plain in some areas but it will come together.  I cannot wait to see what it looks like next year, when all of the bulbs that are still nestled under the dirt come out and surprise me with a “Hey, you didn’t kill me after all, look at my beautiful bloom!”

(My sad attempt at a panoramic photo of the side of my house.)

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