I’ve never been one with a “green thumb”. I’ve left that to my mother–who knows more about plants than most people I’ve ever met. Most of the plants I’ve ever tried to nurture have died within a few days of contact with me. Gardening has never been my thing.
Our living situation changed this year in a good way, and we found ourselves responsible for a pretty large swath of yard that included flowerbeds, bushes, large trees, and half-hearted landscaping. The property wasn’t overgrown, and most people who saw it said it looked just fine, but by the second weekend of June, my perfectionist tendencies had taken over and I couldn’t stand it.
“This is terrible,” I said to myself. “I am not going to be that house.”
The yard needed help, and by God, I was going to give it.
So I started working in the yard. Mind you, I’d never done this before–beyond one sad time as a child when I tried to help my mom plant a maple tree and really just wound up standing there holding the rake. Weeding, mulching, planting, trimming, and watering were all new to me.
The first few days, I didn’t know what to do. Surely this stuff would die in my hands, right? All the house plants I’d ever had certainly did. I made a nervous trip to the local garden center around the corner. Could they please tell me what to plant? Could they give me a few tips?
“The secret is this,” said a kind employee who saw the panic in my face. “No one really knows what they’re doing in the yard. You just plant stuff, and see how it goes, and if it dies, just plant something else. Trial and error.”
A few perennials later, I drove back home and started some frantic digging.
Now, as I look at the yard during the last few days of summer, I’m pretty proud of what I see. The plants aren’t dead–they look healthy and for the most part are thriving. The additions I’ve made play well against the other plants and the color of the house. The second round of mulch has made the beds healthier. Driving up the driveway isn’t embarrassing.
But most of all, I’ve learned that I do like gardening after all. I’m already planning and scheming for what I can do once I have a full growing season. After a few years, this yard won’t know what hit it. Just you wait.