Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gardening

I'm still sick and I can't tell you how freakin' irritated I am by it! Seriously, why couldn't this have happened two weeks ago when I was still at work. I didn't mind taking sick days at work. I mean, they give them to you, why not use them? And besides I'm a firm believer in avoiding spreading germs. Not to mention, work time has always been much less valuable to me than my own time. But now I have actual important stuff I want to get done, dammit! My boyfriend was like, "Well at least it happened during the week that you weren't planning to write" and I'm sure he said that because the last time I got sick it was over Christmas Break (again, hello, why couldn't have happened on work time and not my time!) when I was trying to write, it turned into a huge nervous breakdown because my story was giving me trouble as it is and I don't think well when I have a cold. But the reason I'm not writing this week is because I have a ton of crap to catch up on and I want to catch up on that crap so I can get down to real business as of September 2nd.

Also I'm not very good at sitting still and resting. I did that last night, but I went to bed telling my body to get better so I could garden in the morning. I wanted to garden so badly, I dreamed about gardening. But I woke up still feeling like shit. This is not okay. There is too much to do this week and this was my one day where I wasn't working or waking up late because I worked late the night before. I wanted to be really productive. I took some medicine and when Scott got up he asked how I was feeling. "Still crappy," I told, "But I think I might garden a little anyway."

"It might be good for you to get some fresh air," he agreed. Exactly what I hoped he'd say. When I'm uncertain about stuff I generally run them past the voices of reason, a.k.a Scott or my mom. I'm not so sure my nurse mother would have agreed with this, she might have voted rest over fresh air, but fortunately she worked last night, so she wouldn't be awake for me to call and run it past her. I put on some raggedy clothes and sunscreen dragged my gardening tools, a stool, water and the obligatory box of Kleenex outside.

My garden shows the outside world exactly how chaotic my life has been this summer. It's completely over run by weeds, the vegetables are doing horribly this year, some of the flowers have died. My mom thinks the vegetable issue is because we didn't use this mushroom compost stuff this year and there seem to be some bug issues as we lost one tomato plant to pests. But truth be told, I forget to water it half the time and I've basically neglected it since June. My mom weeded it for me while I was traveling, but other than that.... It's a sad state of affairs.

I know it's doubtful that I'll actually get any peppers this year or more than a few tomatoes or more than that one cucumber I didn't even get a chance to eat, but I want to garden to spend its last few weeks in dignity, so I feel that I absolutely must weed it this week.

I start with my herb garden. It's the garden I've had the longest and it has always been the most cooperative. It's overrun to this year, but not so much by weeds. The mint is always out of control if you don't pay close attention to it and this year for some reason the chives have gone wild. I tug out all of the extra chive plants that have sprouted and the mint tendrils that have stretched their way all the way over to the basil. Somehow the rosemary and the oregano survived beneath all that. That's good I guess. My poppy died. My poppies always die. It's highly frustrating. My zinnias are in a sad state too. And these perennial flowers whose name I always forget needed to be deadheaded so they continue to flower and I didn't do that. I did it now, but I'm not sure they'll bloom again before winter. We planted these random flower seeds near the front and really should have planted them in the back because they are the tallest thing in the garden. I'm irritated by this because it's throwing off my sense of balance. If my mom were here, she'd remind me it was a science experiment. It's always a science experiment. Last year the experiment went well. This year, not so much. I guess we've proven that neglecting your garden is bad.

Even though my nose is running like crazy I'm feeling pretty good after doing the herb garden, so I decide to do the side garden. The side garden is part vegetable garden and part wild prairie plants. As I mentioned the vegetables, not doing too great. The sunflowers in the prairie garden are late to bloom to and not nearly as tall. They may be a different kind of seed, but more likely we threw down too many seeds and they haven't had enough space. Weeding out the thinner, weaker stalks is going to be a main part of my mission in this garden. But before that there is a science project gone terribly awry to deal with.

A lot of times we can't tell if something is a weed or a flower. My mom uses the science experiment logic and says leave it, see if it does anything. There was this one plant I was absolutely convinced was going to be this marigold I planted last year. I know marigolds don't usually come back, but this was a big ass marigold. I thought it might be a super plant. My dad's wife told me at the beginning of the summer that it was a weed, but I did not want to believe her. I gave it until this week to do something. It didn't. It was most definitely a weed and now it had firmly put its roots down and its stem was as thick the trunk of a small tree. I tugged and tugged to no avail, so I settled in and started digging. I started coughing. I knew I was exerting my sick body too much, but had to get that freakin' thing out. I swear that stupid weed was a metaphor for every bad relationship I've ever been in. I know they aren't going to grow into something beautiful, but I try to give them the benefit of the doubt anyway. Then I definitely know they won't be something beautiful, but I let them stick around a while longer because I don't want to deal with extricating them from my life. Once that metaphor got into my head, I destroyed that freakin' weed. I wasn't satisfied when the stem finally broke, I needed the roots out because suddenly it was every ex-friend and ex-boyfriend that I hadn't dealt with properly. Then I accidentally uprooted an actual marigold, so I stopped.

I replanted the legitimate marigold and went to deal with the sunflowers. Coughing and sneezing were in full effect. I know my body wanted me to stop. This was no longer good fresh air, I was pushing too hard, but dammit, I wanted the two side gardens perfect so that later this week, I just have to deal with the weed nightmare that is my front garden (that garden is always a mess no matter how meticulous I am in the summer). I knew I was starting to get too perfectionist and that I'd regret when I had to go to work tomorrow still feeling like shit, but that didn't stop me. What finally did? Well, I was almost finished thinning the sunflowers and I was trying to coax a few of them to stand up straight when what did I see between two stems just inches from my face. SPIDER!!!! I squealed like a little girl, dropped the flowers and rushed out of the garden. "Okay, I get it, I'm going inside!"

So that was my gardening adventure. I think the fresh air did do me good and the spider stopped me from overexerting, but we'll see how I feel tomorrow. One thing, I know for sure. I will never ever neglect my garden like this again. I will find a way to balance my life better this summer. I want my garden to look like this again:

I'm still too ashamed to show you what it looks like now. But I'm off to water it so it doesn't get worse. If you haven't already, you should enter the Women Who Rock Wednesday contest for Manid Perkins' CD because it's your last chance!!!

2 comments:

Annika said...

I know it is a source of frustration right now, but I love reading about your garden experiments! My tiny container garden is horribly neglected following our week's vacation, but it's been a wonderful lesson for next year. Gardening is awesome!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Thanks Annika! I was afraid they were boring so its good to know they aren't!