Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Outdoors Is Calling!

It's hard to believe it's the end of March already in a year whose last digit I'm still getting used to. As much as I try to ignore it, the grass is swiftly approaching that shaggy stage where it will need to be cut if we want to maintain our proper, buttoned-down suburban look. And mulch must be spread, flowering annuals purchased and planted, the dead and dying given a fitting disposal. Not to mention all the new stuff that needs to be done out back--grassing over that old garden, putting in borders, and, and, and, and.....(tip of the hat to M.F.K. Fisher).

It's amazing, the chores you'll take on willingly when it's your name on the results. When I was a kid, yard work was up there on my list of favorite things along with walking on hot coals. I hated the heat, I hated the wet, smelly grass, the bugs...you name it. If it was outside and it entailed the slightest amount of exertion, I hated it. In the days before electric string trimmers, you had to use those scissors-like lawn shears for borders, and that could take an entire day to do right. (I know, because I was often sent back out to "finish the job.") I hated it. Now, I find cutting the grass one of those satisfying jobs that give you immediate gratification, and trimming is rewarding because of the clean lines you get (thank God for string trimmers, however). The difference, of course, is that it's mine, all mine, and therefore it has to look good! The gardening industry reaps its fortune from my vanity.

We have a terraced garden bordering the street in the front. The top level is filled with azaleas that give a better and better show the older they become. The bottom level is always filled with colorful annuals. Each year I think I'll try something new, and each year I end up putting in hundreds of petunias anyway. They can't be beat for their cascading billows of color--they slow traffic along 12th Street. Putting in the petunias definitely does not qualify as work; it's a labor of love.

I have a truncated day today so I'm not able to spend much time here. Tomorrow's time will be even shorter, as I get things ready for Delaware. We'll probably leave mid-day. I still don't know if I'll be able to do posts there. I'm taking a flash drive with some music on it just in case.....

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ralph,

I enjoyed reading of your garden. As a child I enjoyed a garden. My aunts had wonderful flower beds - one aunt having a large enough spread that she sold the land and someone built a house on it. I sense my enjoyment came as I wasn't allowed to garden and it was thought I was too young.

My last home in NY was a wonderful cottage that had been owned or leased at one time to a horticulturist. The horticulturist planted all green groundcover. It was there all year and easy to care for. The grass was our only chore and an enjoyable one. We were a block up the hill from the harbor.

Thanks for stirring up the memories.

Enjoy your trip to Delaware!

Linda
SE PA

Zoey & Me said...

Ralph,
Are the cherry blossoms out yet up there on the mall?

Ralph said...

Not yet, Z&M. WaPo usually does a blossom watch and they haven't even started that yet. It's really a lovely here though--I even cut the grass!

Ralph said...

Hi, Linda. It's interesting, the thinking that's going into the garden now, with this perhaps being the last season, etc. There are beds that need work and we've never really figured put how best to use them--that sort of thing. We just want everything to look as good as possible when the time comes....

Cuidado said...

I've been gardening my whole life but I can't tell you how tired I am of mowing. I'm thinking of getting a goat.....that likes cats.

Ralph said...

Cuidado, HA! We've joked about getting sheep, too...we have a small enough lawn so that it's not a big deal. I am starting to wish that gardens required a little less upkeep, though. (I know, blasphemy!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Ralph,

Pondering your reply comment - perhaps this gentle reminder will help - create it with what you love - even if it is simpler than years gone by.

I truly believe in when you "do something" will love it shows. Food always tastes best when the cook loves to cook.

Linda
SE PA

Ralph said...

Thank you, Linda. That is wonderful advice and I'll take it to heart. Sometimes the "things I love" in the garden need more sun than I can supply them in this north-facing yard, but I will work around that. You're so right.