In Which I Till My Garden

9:22 PM 6 Comments A+ a-

They could barely hold the camera straight, but for the laughing.
As I’ve done with nearly everything in my life, I romanticized the idea of having a garden. I imagined myself pruning rose bushes, caught in the seduction of morning air, whistling about the outdoors while commenting on how tempered and robust the hydrangea looks, and pausing momentarily to water the annuals with my Haws copper can—its Peter Rabbit design granting utter legitimacy to my experience. And I do. I do all these things each morning, but in truth, gardening has turned out to be lackluster and, at its worst, far more treacherous than most would conceive.

Last week, while planting a gardenia, I stirred up a nest of carpenter ants that pursued me into the house. Kevin slaughtered fifty-four of these winged beasts in the kitchen before begging me to take up a different hobby, one that involves paying off my credit card. Yesterday, while uprooting a giant agapanthus, I managed to hit several tree roots, a water pipe, and possibly the underside of China, while granting passersby insight as to why gardening should never be done in yoga pants.
Making friends. Lots of them.

Last night, a man stood around heckling me from the sidewalk for over fifteen minutes as I attempted to heave my shovel under an agapanthus and leap onto the protruding end to create a lever effect that might easily pop the offending plant out of its bed. But of course, this didn’t work to my expectations, in that I didn’t expect to fall and possibly require hip surgery at such a tender age. And the man, either critical of my technique or distended with pity, gave me his business card which read, “Chester Such-and-Such, Holiday Handyman.” Said he lived just up the hill and to call him if things got over my head—which is ridiculous. I mean, that a handyman lives up the hill where the real estate is well above the million-dollar range. There must be an abundance of idiots like me, thrashing about our gardens and botching home improvement ventures, keeping this Chester in rich business.

I am not a complete failure. Though my landscaping techniques involve small amounts of flooding and a lexical restructuring of the term “beauty,” I have managed to increase my fitness by lifting a heavy Fiskar shovel and fleeing emigrate insects. It’s been a highly educational practice. Do you know what the plural of agapanthus is? Tell you what—you don’t need to. By the time I’ve finished my quest, there won’t be a single agapanthus left on earth, never mind a plurality.

In short, I can’t imagine why all of you aren’t eager to join me in these outdoor frolics. Or at least, eager to help.

You are all terrible friends.
This isn't a success. Success is when someone else is doing the dirty work and you're taking the pictures.
Certainly, gardening is the worst. I truly grieve the spoiled romance of this endeavor. Shame on me for the belief in something lasting and transformative—the magic of bees and birdhouses hovering above the Baccaras, and my children, the sleeves of their J. Crew oxfords rolled up to their elbows as they clink tea cups and talk amongst themselves about how freaking amazing I am. This picture would, however, necessitate ignorance of the beetles pinching at their ankles because I accidentally dug up an enclave. And the birds that, upon leaving their colorful birdhouses, are now defecating on our lawn. Also, the sorcerous melody of wind chimes which, like a knife beating against pork tins, attracts every coyote within a three-mile radius

Oh hell.

6 comments

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Steve
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June 9, 2016 at 3:05 PM delete

I could help, I suppose.

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Sarah Kantner
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June 9, 2016 at 8:26 PM delete

Ann, it's worth it just for your florid descriptions of your own personal nightmare. I'll help you next week. Promise. :)

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June 9, 2016 at 10:21 PM delete

I dug up the agapanthus on the other side tonight, but you and I are going to have to hack up a ton of tree roots! I've unearthed so many!

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Josh Nagy
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June 10, 2016 at 1:02 PM delete

Niki is on a gardening kick as well, I'm to broken to be of any help. I like having lawn but would prefer synthetic. Then I could just go out with the shop vac twice a year and be done with it.

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