I love gardens, but I don’t actually love gardening. My mother once saw me recoil in horror at the sight of a grub and said scornfully, “Hmph. What kind of a gardener are you?!” A theoretical kind of gardener is what I am. I don’t believe in watering or coddling my plants…that would require too much time in the steamy, scary outdoors. Twice I’ve had to go on a course of antibiotics for Lyme Disease after getting bitten by a tick during a weeding session. When I put in a plant, I give them a little pep talk, “You’ve got to be tough to make it around here. Let’s see what you can do.” And then they’re on their own.
When I first moved to the house we’re in now, I planted a New Dawn rose and a Clematis Jackmanii at the base of our deck. I sat back and waited and waited and waited some more. The New Dawn rose bush grew spectacularly – the lush green foliage was studded with the most evil thorns you could possibly imagine, but not a single rose grew for many years. I regretted ever planting it and the thought of having to battle the thorns to take it down filled me with dread. Peering into my yard as she ministered to her impeccably manicured all-white Vita Sackville-West inspired garden, my neighbor (who happens to be a Master Gardener) would tut.
“Those roses are never going to bloom unless you fertilize them,” she would call over to me.
Fertilize? When I don’t even water my plants? I don’t think so!
It doesn’t always work out so well, but this time, sloth wins the day: