If I didn’t already know how busy I am taking care of a three-year-old and 8-month-old, then April would have clued me in. Usually I am waiting with anticipation for the second week of April because this is the time of year I feel it is safe to finally plant my garden. There is no more fear of frost, and my favorite flowers and trees are blooming – that is, all of them.
This year April came and went, and now I’m standing in May looking at my calendar wondering if someone has played a trick on me. We were sick early in April, and then, well, I don’t remember. That’s the thing with kids. They steal time. They grab your hand and make you run so fast that you can’t even look over your shoulder at the view. I didn’t even get a chance to see that many dogwoods in bloom.
I love being in our yard, and I love to garden. I have dreams of having a yard like the ones in the magazines – all flowers and footpaths. Something I would imagine a little old lady tending to early in the mornings before the sun gets too hot.
I know that’s too ambitious for me, but a few years ago I planted perennial and biennial flowers along the front of our house. They only look good right about now. Later in the summer the blooms will die and the greens will get long and spindly, and when I cut them, it’ll just look like a flowerbed full of stems.
As someone I’m fond of once said, I don’t have a green thumb. I have a green pinky.
Then there’s the matter of the dogs. We have two of them, and the smaller one has made it pretty much impossible to plant any flowers in my backyard. The bigger one doesn’t help matters either. I have a love-hate relationship with my dogs.
If I were not a mother, however, I am pretty sure my garden would look better. (Heck, if I were not a mother, I am certain the inside of my house would look better, but that’s a whole other story.) Right now I have wild grass growing in my backyard flowerbeds, and all the good dirt that I spent good money on has been dug up, kicked aside and re-routed to other parts of the yard. But I’m trying to fix it, a few minutes at a time.
Actually, it’s a little easier to clean up my yard than the inside of my house with the two boys. Outside, twigs, wind and grass entertain my baby. My three-year-old is happy to get a small shovel and help me dig in the dirt. I cannot spend a leisurely afternoon puttering in my yard, but I can manage to pull a few weeds and wild grass, and last week, we finally planted our vegetables.
That morning my husband asked my son, “So you’re going to plant tomatoes today?” My three-year-old answered, “Not tomatoes. Tomato PLANTS, Dada.”
I decided to make it simple this year. We bought two tomato plants and some cucumbers. I’m not trying to grow anything from seed, and I’m not trying to grow something new. To a three-year-old, it’s all new anyway. He doesn’t remember our failed watermelon plants from last year, and he doesn’t remember eating dirt when he was a baby.
He does remember how to water the plants with water from our rain barrel, and he remembered where he left his very own watering can. I told him that he’s a good gardener, and he answered, “Yes, I AM a good gardener.”
Maybe someday when I’m a little old lady, I will be too.
Shelli Bond Pabis is a Winder resident and a columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.