The day was warm. Perfect, actually. Not hot at all. After a morning of fulfilling obligations, I changed into my Whack-A-Mole clothes, donned my Teflon-coated gardening gloves, clipped on my clever little tool pouch and stepped into my Crocs. Ready to survey my Garden Domain, I took a deep, pollen-laden breath of summer-like winter air and descended the stairs into the back yard. I cracked my knuckles and shrugged my shoulders to loosen them and prepare for what I anticipated was an hour of work to tidy up the yard. I began to look around, and...
Oh, my poor plants.
One little miniature tea rose had three leaves, spider webs, one little shriveled flower. Pill bugs ran for cover when I lifted pots. Slugs mocked me. Weeds thumbed their noses at me, and acorns planted by jays last autumn were sprouting up into baby oak trees in my geranium pots.
It's very obvious I have been a neglectful gardener over the past three or four months. If it hadn't been for the rain we were doused with in November and part of December, everything would be dead as a doornail.
I set to work. My pruning clippers are a fine tool for potted plants, needle-nosed and small in size. Weeds and dead stems flew and compressed dirt became fragrant once I dug into it. The spearmint plants looked really bedraggled, but they'll spring back with regular attention. All the aromatics like lavender, mint, oregano and thyme perfumed the air. The scented geranium and society garlic were especially fragrant as I worked around them.
All the steady work this afternoon made me wonder about other things I've drifted away from over time, things I once did with a lot of enthusiasm and that were a pleasure to do. Things like cycling for instance. Where once I rode my bike everywhere for years, my bike now sits waiting for me as it has for even more years. There are quite a few things like that. I also wondered what happened to certain friendships that once meant a lot to me. People have drifted away and I've lost track of them. Where are they now?
On the other hand, I have a few old plants that are far past their prime, withered and gnarled with time. Instead of going and getting some new interesting varieties of flowers, I keep prodding the old ones along. Should I let them go for good? What about relationships that just take so much darn work? Drop them?
I took a look at a once-manageable flowering shrub in a planter and realized what a beast it has become. It might need tools I don't own, a saw or something. Procrastination and neglect have not done me any good. Like swimming, I need to keep at my garden regularly. The payoff is terrific in spring and summer when flowers are brimming over every pot and roses are blooming again. It took probably two or three solid hours today and more are needed to get the rest of the plants back in the pink once more. By the time April is here, I'll be ready for a garden party.
Now to round up some of those old friends...
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way