Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I'm sitting here with my hands swollen up like two baseball mitts, feeling as though someone has kicked me in the side of the neck with a pointy shoe. One hip is seized up about an inch higher than the other one, which puts quite a hitch in my giddyup. I am in pain, and I am lopsided. And I have gardening to thank for this state of affairs. One weeks worth of weeding, digging, cutting, trimming, planting and roaming around with my hands on my hips going 'Huh....' and my shit is RACKED UP.

There is simply something in my DNA that makes me want to annoy vegetation. I don't always love it, but I have to do it the same way I have to sleep or eat. I don't feel right if I can't.

I had a few forewarnings....once, when I was 13, I started a few flowers on my windowsill that quickly went from mint out of the back yard to a redwood burl to marijuana, and just as quickly got quashed by the parental units (never plant dope in the street side window of a house, kids.)

A few years later I 'got the call' to become a nun. Not just any nun, though; one of the Sisters of Canaan- a cloistered order that was reclaiming unused land for agriculture somewhere in the Midwest. It sounded great to me at the time...of course, so did Elton John.

Years later I asked for a job at a local garden nursery. I was spending most of my time there anyway, so why not get paid? That's where I really learned how to garden-how to pot up plants and take cuttings and make medium and all the other stuff. And I liked it real good.

Now, my grandmother gardened, although by the time we moved next door the main work had been done for years and all that was left was trimming and weeding. My father gardened too, and he did a damn good job of it. The problem was, I was the kid, and so I never got to do anything but tote and pull weeds, which didn't suit me one bit. I finally put my foot down and refused to do another thing after I found a tomato hornworm and made a giant dramatic screaming scene about it.

I didn't want the garden to be associated with punishment or drudgery, and so I didn't insist that my daughter be my yard slave*. She learned to garden from the same woman I learned from, which probably was all for the best. And now my daughter is teaching my grandson, and he goes out into the yard and digs holes so that Grandma will give him a flower to plant in them, and is proud to select a baby flower to take care of at the nursery. So I feel like my job is done.

Gardening can be hard work. I don't mind that. I don't mind being cold or filthy or wet or miserably tired if it's related to gardening. Gardening is also, for the larger part, a sheer joy. I certainly don't mind wandering around the pretty flowers with a pair of clippers going 'snip, snip...la la la....snip, snip' all afternoon with the fat bumbles making circles around my head. And let me tell you, after wasting two years in college on a business degree and another year trying to convince myself that I didn't mind wearing nylons every day and making copies for a living, I can state conclusively that I would much rather be ankle-deep in rotting pumpkins wearing a 'Fuck Off And Die' t-shirt, and drinking cheap warm beer in the sunshine.


*watch the comments, though. accounts may vary.


  1. Hear hear, sista! I am SO with you on that one.

  2. ps. I think the 'mater worm guy is way cute. Aawwwww...

  3. Also yay 1st, 2nd, AND 3rd!!1!

  4. chaucers bitch, you bitch! stealing all top three spots!!!!!

    love the new post! and feel your pain!!! yeah i'm gonna go back and reread it!

  5. CB I, II, III: compost is better than nylons.but tomato hornworms are both WORMY and HORNED with large oogyness of the green, large, and rearing up, with chewing,and EW. plus they make a noise. they squeak. hell yes they do. NOOOOOOO squeaking large greenness of the huge, with bleah ick ick gah.

    voices: she gets to. morons ate her OREOS, yo.

  6. Send airfare.

    Well, busfare for me.

    And we'll all come round to massage you.

  7. I love the worm, too. It's little face .... aw!

  8. Ooooh I want to be a nun now.
    I am not very good at gardening , but I am learning.
    I am a bit peturbed by the squeaking green horror , it looks pretty big in the picture
    ****peering round the shed door****

  9. I would have garden if I had water. I am landlocked with water all around me. I can't get flood insurance. So I don't have a garden, I enjoy the fruits and vegetables of my friends. Water is here is VERY expensive.
    As for you....take lots of meds.

  10. Few activities in this world are as rewarding as Gardening. Mucking about in the dirt, nurturing, rearranging, pruning, weeding, it's all very Godlike innit?

  11. I'm with you on the T-shirt, warm beer and sunshine. Just can't get out of the habit of wearing nylons, though.

  12. One day soon I am gonna quit and just do my garden. In fact now I've read this I might just pop out and plant my kale seeds.
    Nah, bollocks, I'll have a coffee first.

  13. mj: go stand outside and i'll throw it to you. ok. ready?

    didja get it?

    qenny: hey you! :D
    would you still love the little worm when you realized it was FIVE INCHES LONG-about the same size and shape as a cigar? and ate tomato plants-not just took a bite, but ATE THE WHOLE THING?? and then squeaked at you? noooooooo, paco.

    beast: and well you should be. it eventually turns into quite a beautiful moth, but that is outweighed by its pointy assedness of the tomato chompingness.

    gale: no way! don't you live on the Palouse? and i am always heavily medicated!

    maestro donnacoppensa: truthfully? when church was a good experience for me, that's the same feeling i get from gardening. really peacefull and contemplative and happy. minus the statue of the guy dying in agony and bleeding all over the place, of course.

    reg: at least you have the legs for them. and thats whats important.

    tom: howdy stranger! :D
    oh go plant the kale. you reminded me that i want to plant a mesclun this year so thanks! good as coffee you8 are!

  14. Magnolia trees are out at the moment - they're gorgeous. Can you plant them this time of year?

    Hope you unbend soon and the pain ceases, you need more beer with it!

  15. Phwap!

    That's no ticket. That's a wad of compost!

  16. I finally weeded a bit! Had to wait til the rain stopped, and it was perfectly mushy (not sodden) enough to yank dandellions.
    And I agree on the non-slaving of my youth gardening. Except at Perennial Gardens. I slaved a bit there.

  17. Anonymous1:42 PM

    the flowers and trees are blooming up a storm here. i guess the old adage april showers bring may flowers rang true. i picked up some deep maroon/pink petunias today along with some more lilac colored ones.

    that little worm looks like an alien.

  18. A quick line from my autumn-cool corner...I know many people who were saved from all sorts of personal Hell by gardening.
    If I overdo the heavy work I suffer, but does that stop me? No, it does not. Must be a blood thing!
    If you're still into prayer, direct it towards St. Fiacre. He's on our side!

  19. Ooops Sorry Miss MJ that wad of my special 'chick pea curry' compost was me , I was aiming for Miss First Nations but obviously miscalculated the curvature of the earth and the strength of the atlantic winds

  20. i was an avid gardener for years until a mastiff broke through my gate and killed my maltese...he systematically tore her to bits and there were pieces of her left all over my garden...it was the last time i planted anything...i miss it from time to time...the feeling of the earth in my hands...growing something from a seed...reaping the herbs and using them in the food i cook...but i can't bring myself to return...i will just live vicariously through your tales of gardening and imagine myself in your garden by your side...then drinking a beer with you trying to relieve the pain afterwards...thank you for being so descriptive...

  21. heh heh, ssa was yanking on her dandellion while being weeded out... heh heh...

  22. ziggi: this is the best time! you won't see many flowers this year but go ahead and plant them. evening is the best time of day.

    mj: you keep thinking that. *snork*

    SSA: hell yes, me too!

    pink:here too. stuff is going nuts!

    dinah: I like st. anthony abbatao (patron saint of pizza) i grow pizza ingredients so that works out!

    beast: *ducks*

    daisy: well, that beats the crap outta my tomato hornworm. poor woofie!

    voices; that almost makes sense.

  23. Ahhhhh....Wish I still had my own garden. Traded it all temporarily just to go back to school and get a better degree. So for now I help my Mother and she reaps the benefits of all of our work. Her perfectly manicured yard is downright beautiful......and i come home to a few hanging plants and ...Yep...the flower box. Its' full of flowers though.....(Keep my pot plants in the closet, like real southern folks do).......BTW, you must be from the South. Because gardening is just in our blood you know.....

    (Forgive me, I haven't looked to see where you live)

    Anyway, happy gardening!!

  24. The joys of agriculture are lost on me, much to English Roses dismay.

  25. kimberly: welcome welcome! no, I'm not from the south, i'm from the northwest. but most of us here are originally from the south so maybe that counts. except I'm originally from mongolia via the bering land bridge, so i guess it doesn't.

    tick: english rose is on to something, tick. get on that action and plant something. she'll be delighted that you even tried; trust me. buy a packet of oriental poppy seeds and dump them out somewhere sunny; they'll grow, trust me. then tell them you planted them for her!!

  26. ...tell HER you planted the poppies for HER. is what i mean.