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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Green thumbs

Friday afternoon, after arriving back at my undisclosed location in town, Joe and I went to Home Depot for some plants.

A little background - every year, we bury plants plant a garden in the backyard. We always do this too late in the season and then forget to water things so we'll just say it's not usually a successful undertaking. Last year, after planting zucchini, jalapeno peppers, squash, tomatoes, parsley and basil, we had one watermelon the size of a softball and 3 cherry tomatoes (except, I could've sworn we planted "big boys", not teensy cherry tomatoes). Everything else died. Except the basil because we smart enough to keep that in a pot on the porch.

This year, I was determined to plant a larger garden and actually take care of it. We've had some work done in the backyard and I'm all inspired and outdoorsy. Except... I really hate working in the yard. To be fair, the yard started it. Or, technically I could blame this on my mother, just like everything else. You see, I'm allergic to the outdoors. Several kinds of grass, trees, molds, pollens, dusts are all on my no-no list. I also hate any and all species of bugs, whether they be flying, crawling, or slithering.

So, back to Friday. We went to Home Depot and bought many plants. Two kinds of bulbs (I felt so grown-up, planting "I don't know if they're annuals or perennials, I just want the ones that come back next year!"), zucchini, squash, green bell peppers, strawberries, ten (yes TEN!) tomato plants, a blueberry bush, and two citronella plants to ward off mosquitoes. Also, I planted my most favorite flower in the entire world, a lilac tree.

I grew up in a climate where lilacs were plentiful. In fact, I was mad we couldn't plan our wedding for May so I could carry lilacs and roses for my bouquet. But since moving way south of "home", I've been told our climate is too warm for lilacs. Then, I dug around online and found out it *is* possible to grow them here at my undisclosed location!

We searched several stores over the past few weeks, looking for lilacs. I looked again on Friday but was unsuccessful. Until Joe points out three lilacs all in a row. "Are these not what you're looking for?"

Well, excUuuUUuUUuse ME! It's not like they were in bloom or looked like lilacs. It was more like a twig in the dirt with a minimal amount of green leaves on the end. What, I'm supposed to read the little tags? Pffft, this gardening is hard stuff! (By the way, also, I kept seeing "early divided broccoli" and just figured the little plantling was weaned really early from its mama-plant. But I just read a post by Reggie Girl and it turns out it's early divideNd broccoli. Like, early yield. Ooooh!)

Then on Sunday, it was time for the actual yardwork. I chugged my cocktail of benadryl and valium, put on my big girl panties, and covered myself from head to toe in some sort of cancer-causing bug repellent so I could get to work.

This is getting ridiculously long so I'll spare you the details except to say that it was a bug-infested, killer-bee-dodging, sweat-inducing, icky yucky dirty five-plus hours to complete our tasks. Which didn't include spreading mulch (he did that at night) and planting my three potted flowers, two basil and one rosemary plant on for the deck.

After all of that, guess what? A surprise late-Spring freeze tonight. So now the question is - do I let them die now or do I prolong the inevitable and cover them up?


mo.stoneskin said...

I'm a big fan of consistency. Let them die!

I'm impressed Joe knows what lilacs are, I just thought it was a colour.

I also hate bugs, insects and creeping things. I think the phobia started when as a kid I brutally drowned a large spider in shampoo. One day the creeping world with take its revenge.

blognut said...

Cover them up! Prolong the fantasy that you are a gardener!

I don't like bugs and worms and icky things, either.

Beth said...

We are going to have to cover up a ton of plants. We worked to beautify the garden for my step-daughter's party but then the rain came. And the flood.

So, again, yes we will be covering up the flowers that didn't drown.

I say prolong the inevitable. Who knows? This could be the year the green thumbs actually sprout.

Hit 40 said...

The bulbs are annuals. They are not winter hardy. My guess is you got gladiolas or dahlias? The perennial bulbs need to be planted in the fall. I recommend daffodils - the critters will not eat them like tulips. And, there are several types of lilac bushes - some tall, some short, different colors. So, if it is a small space, my guess home depot sold you the kind that gets really tall. A garden store will have the full choice of plants. Anyway... great post today on potty training!!! SO FUNNY!!!

Tori_z said...

Cover them up and pretend for a while longer that you've got green thumbs. :)

I love lilacs.

Bugs are the only thing I hate about gardens. I have no problem with getting dirty and sweaty. And the hard work doesn't bother me. But the bugs... *Pulls a face*... I hate those things!

C. Beth said...

Good for you! I really don't like working outside either but I'm not trying to overcome that.

I'm in awe (bowing down here.)

Sam said...

Are there really bugs that "slither"?

Debbi said...

cover them. You may surprise yourself.

I planted lilac bushes/trees (whichever) about 4 years ago from a "twig" as you describe. I think, I THINK, this year I may get my first bloom! woo. I'll let you know! ;)

Alabama Redhead said...

At my house, I let natural selection take over...only the strong survive, and by strong I mean those that don't require pesky things like water, weeding or any actual care after the initial one week "I'm going to water these plants everyday" honeymoon period.

The old people in our hood have sheets all over their plants to protect them, my plants, that are still live from last year, got street cred and don't need no stinkin' sheets yo!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...


I say, cover them up. It'll feel like a less wasted 5 hours if you get to watch them die slowly... plus you won't feel like you need to replace them until next year.

andy said...

that is some motivation.

i think i'm doing pretty good if i pick up the dog shit once a week.

although my office is bigger than my yard so who really cares?

Not me.

i feel stoned.

Mrs Cooper said...

Cover them up and they'll be fine. Up here we don't even put anything in the ground until May because of frost. You see all kinds of greenhouse contraptions in people's yards. I just don't bother anymore. I hate the weeding part of it..

Grand Pooba said...

Wow. Lilacs bring back horrible memories for me. We tried to plant one in our backyard 3 times. Turns out Dozer LOVES to eat Lilac plants. Roots and all!

Isabella said...

Good luck! If I did that much work on a garden, I would cover the plants. Mostly because I'm stubborn and wouldn't want the plants to die that easy after putting in so much time (not because I actually care about them).

Donnetta said...

See my blog - COVER THEM UP!!!!

You put too much work into it to let them croakus!!

kel said...

Visiting from SITS... I have no gardening advice.. I kill anything green. I really hope Kermit never plays a visit to my house, cause his hours will be numbered.

KiKi said...

LOL. I have a black thumb. Last year I invested in ferns. That's about my limit. hehehe.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Um...if you planted zucchini, jalapeno peppers, squash, tomatoes, parsley and basil last did you get a watermelon?

Snarky A. said...

I would go with cover up. Just to keep the charade going a little while longer, just to not let that fickle biatch Mother Nature decide when you're sick of your plants.

I delusionally plant stuff every year. Stuff that dies within weeks and then spends 6 months in the back yard looking horrible.
This year I was hoping to skip the whole thing, so I am really hoping inspiration won't hit me this Spring. Crossing fingers.

Call Me Cate said...

mo - Joe only knows what lilacs are because I told him. He once answered "roses" to "what is your wife's favorite flower". Roses? Am I *that* vanilla? Geez.

Blognut - Oh, I'll never fantasize about being a gardener. Just *having* a (hot) gardener.

Beth - We rushed to put down mulch so ours wouldn't drown after burying them alive and now Mother Nature wants to freeze them. I'm destined to fail.

Hit 40 - I just know the bulbs said to plant them now for blooming July-Sept. So I buried them in some dirt. They were cheap so we'll see. If I get just one, I'll consider it a success (I planted 18 fresia and 8 or 9 lilies). I do love daffodils. We were going to hit the garden store but I got lazy since Home Depot was right next to Target. Oops!

Tori - I don't mind some sweat. I just mind it mixing with dirt. And making mudsweat. Bugs though, eww...

C Beth - We spend so much time and money at the farmers market (which isn't a complaint - I love it there, I love supporting it, prices are good, the produce is awesome) so I try to grow some of my own. All of which is tastier than the grocery store!

Sam - In my world, yes, there are bugs that slither. Or squirm. Or otherwise move about in unattractive manners.

Debbi - I'm totally impatient so the lilacs are going to drive me crazy. I may not even be in this house by the time they bloom. But I'm kicking myself because that's what I thought when we moved in 7 years ago but here we still are! Definitely let me know!

Alabama Redhead - Yeah, petunias and squash with street cred. That's what I want. Badass veggies probably taste better anyways!

RAS - Thank you! (And thanks C Beth!) I didn't even think about feeling the need to replace them. You're right. Plus, is anything as awesome as letting a plant almost die only to water it and watch it spring back to life? No, I think not.

andy - This is why I don't have dogs! I'm feeling a bit stoned too. I think my Lexapro is over-working. Instead of feeling spazzed, I feel a huge amount of "whatever".

Mrs Cooper - I let Joe deal with the weeding most of the time. I'm awful like that. But these blasted allergies! How can I be expected to pull weeds? ACHOO! ACHOOOOO!!!

Pooba - good thing I don't have any lilac-eating dozers! Growing up we had issues with the deer. But if deer get inside my fence, I'm going to assume they're pretty motivated so I won't mess with them.

Isabella - That's it, I just need to get in touch with my stubborn side instead of letting my "eh" side take over.

Donnetta - off to your blog I go!

kel - Kermit knows better. If my cat doesn't get him, I probably will. Thanks for stopping by!

KiKi - I wonder if I could mess up ferns. If this all fails, I'll have to look into them.

mjenks - I'm just THAT bad at growing things!

Snarky - I like that approach. Yeah, Mother Nature, you can't tell me what to do!!! I'll keep my fingers crossed that you aren't inspired to plant anything this year.

TMC said...

Cover them!!

I have a large lilac bush at the end of my driveway. It's lovely to stop and grab a few flowers when I head down to the mailbox after work. I'm hoping our few days of frost don't burn the just-budding flowers.

Juliet Colors said...

I love lilacs too. I might go so far as to say they're my favorite.

We've been attempting to garden for the past couple of years, but haven't had much luck with anything more complicated than tomatoes and basil and a few other herbs in pots, so that's what we're sticking this year. I'd blame it on the rocky soil, but honestly, if it were up to me, it would all die due to neglect. Fortunately, Alex is really good about regular watering. And I'm good at nagging him to remember. It's a brilliant system, if I do say so myself.

the mama bird diaries said...

Hmm... I live in apartment. I have no yard, no garden. I don't think I'm qualified to help. :)