Monday, June 25, 2007

Dirty fingernails
It's that time of year when one gardens. Or, in my case, putters in the yard a little.
G.'s responsibilities are the mowing, the trimming, the pruning, the mulching.
(And don't even ask me about the yellow locust tree in the back yard. It went from looking newly full and lush to looking like a tree in the Serengeti that giraffes have eaten.)
But the flowers, the potted plants--that's all me.
I don't do much--oh, I make plans, I check out other people's gardens and landscaping, I peruse the garden departments of various stores--but time is restrictive. And money--you can spend a lot on plants.
So I putter. I kind of plan what color of flowers to put in the pots--this year, shades of pink, purple and white (other years, it's red, or yellow). I always buy geraniums from friends' kids here at work, who sell them for 4-H. Not a sexy flower, but hard to kill (one of my main requirements). Petunias, same logic.
And always, a couple tomato plants and maybe a pepper or two. Surprisingly, they go crazy on the south side of the house, producing tomatoes like gangbusters in about August. Some years the peppers do good, like two years ago; sometimes, like last year, not so much.
This year, it's petunias and geraniums with a little ivy in the pots, a dahlia at the side, also a vinca, a daisy-looking plant to match one at the front of the house that's doing really well. The lavender and Russian sage has taken off, as have the hostas. Still living, two rose bushes and a perennial lily-thing. I kind of keep adding things in a hodge-podge kind of way.
But the weird part is, of course when planting stuff, one's hands get dirty, and especially, one's fingernails. And I'm driving myself nuts because I have a compulsion to go wash my hands after every planting, even if I have more to do, to get my fingernails clean. Now, I'm not an obsessive compulsive hand-washer by any means, but gardening does seem to bring the clean freak out of me.
And I wish it wouldn't, because it's good to get one's hands dirty in the earth occasionally, as my gramma might have said. She always called dirt "earth." And I don't think she did cleaned up until after all her gardening was complete for day. She kept a neat and productive garden as long as she could--she lived to be 101.
Maybe if I live that long, I'll reconcile myself to the dirt under my nails, at least for an afternoon. Hope so.

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