Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dirt Under My Fingernails

Spring Gardening

"You shouldn't plant until after Mother's Day."

But I couldn't wait. The weather has been warm and spectacular. Everything is covered in a light yellow layer of sneeze inducing pollen. Spring has arrived in full force and that means sticking my hands in the dirt.

I used to think gardening was something for grandpas in coveralls or suburban matrons with prize winning roses, but I've shaken that assumption. I like it. Now I'm a novice. A total novice. I'm not even sure I could be called a gardener. I'm more like a dirt dabbler. I like things that are easy, I like things that are perennial and colorful. And I like things that I can eat. And I like this website, You Grow Girl.  It's full of  smart-alecky, funny and straight forward information.  Any site described as "under a cheeky veneer of scorn for conventional gardening wisdom lies a solid base of horticultural information" is the gardening website for me.  And this article in particular was great. It smacked me in the face and said I need to focus less on being embarrassed about my gardening mistakes and instead analyze and learn from them. Duh.

Spring Gardening

So this year's Bravely Obey gardening adventure has begun. We sliced and diced our existing gargantuan hosta with a huge serrated bread knife and replanted them all around the front and side of our house. They are nearly indestructible. We split irises and relocated them along our front wall, I'm hoping they still bloom, but the leaves are green so that's a good sign. I have no idea what color they are, but we can always move them again later. Perennials are amazing. So we've got the perennials under control. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but only last year was I finally able to remember that perennials come back every year and annuals die. I kept switching the two. Joe had to keep reminding me, while rolling his eyes and feeling superior. He likes that I think.

Spring Gardening

Annuals are lovely and what I typically plant because they are what I know, I know how to throw things away when they die. And every year we seem to plant impatiens. And as pretty as they are, they have gotten a little boring. I'm trying to branch out. Not far mind you, but no impatiens. I bought bold red geraniums, some vinca vine to fill in and add some layers and textures, some violas (which are secret perennials) that I thought were pansies, but turns out there is really not much difference. They are a deep purple and vibrant yellow and contrast well with the dark green and white tipped vinca and red geraniums.

Spring Gardening

Spring Gardening

Spring Gardening

I also bought herbs this year. Chef Jeff hooked me up with mojito mint, sweet basil, rosemary, and fern leaf dill. Chef Jeff is just the herb brand, but I prefer to picture an Anthony Bourdain type in chef whites helping me hand select my herbs. That is not really how it happened in the parking lot of Ace Hardware, but a girl can dream. I'm not starting a huge herb garden. Because I know myself and I know I don't want to be weeding in July when its 199% humidity and 189 degrees outside. So container gardens for the herbs. Plus I figure if they are small enough I could bring them inside and try to keep them going. I'm planning on new potato salad with fresh dill, and perfectly crafted mojitos on the deck, and bruschetta made with our tomatoes and basil. Now we just need to buy a cow so we can whip up our own mozzarella cheese. Maybe something to add to my list, and this leads me to update that Bravely Obey in Action list progress...

12. Design a garden with plantings for each season. - I would say that this one is in progress. Kind of an ongoing deal. I need to focus a little more on actually planning and designing instead of wandering around garden centers and randomly buying things because they look pretty. I also need to ask friends and family for cuttings from their gardens. I hear that gardeners like to share. And it's cheaper.

16. Develop a better relationship with my mother. - Again another ongoing project. But we've had a good time the last couple of times we've gotten together. I'm still working on being less judgmental and bitchy. You know this is hard.

27. Take more photos. - Total success here! I'm doing it. And it's fun. Now again, like #12 I need to focus a little more and do a little reading to brush up on my technical skills, instead of just "That's pretty, I'll take a picture of it." I'm no Joe, but I'm getting better. Especially when I use his equipment instead of my crappy iPhone camera.

39. Stop yelling and cursing at people when I'm driving. - I've made a concerted effort in the last two weeks to curtail my road anger, not rage, just anger. Ridiculous, blood pressure raising, head shaking anger. Instead of cursing, when for example, someone hasn't accelerated after the light we are sitting at has turned green, I don't say "Go, you stupid motherf(*&(*er!"  I now say, quite calmly and repeatedly, "The light is green, the light is green, the light is green..." and only rarely does this turn into "The f&%#$ing light is green, you douche bag!" That's progress.


Pick said...

Heh, I hope you planted those herbs in a raised bed, or at least that you are planning ahead to 50 years from now and thinking 'man, I hope this mint is still growing here no matter what I salt the earth with' :D Also I used to help your mom and dad when they came in to the local Leawood nursery, so tell them Matt said hello!

bethany actually said...

I second Pick! Mint should always, always be planted in a container...unless you WANT it to completely take over the area surrounding where you planted it. :-)

That said, herbs are dead easy to grow, and the rewards are fantastic! As long as you give them plenty of sun and water, they'll thrive. And once you get used to cooking with fresh herbs you will never want to do without them again.

I would recommend that you be prepared to re-pot the basil in a much bigger pot if you didn't use one that seemed way too big already. Basil likes a lot of room to grow! Also, homemade pesto is awesome and simple to make.

Katrina said...

Your post made me laugh out loud. I can relate to this a lot! I have always gotten annuals and perennials mixed up too. I have always been too timid to try something new. Which is weird because some of my best memories are planting and picking things out of the garden with my grandpa and grandma. Like you, I am bored with my same old flowers and am ready to mix it up. I have always gone with bright red geraniums. Its time for a change.

I have also wanted to try and grow a little herb garden. But I haven't because 1. too scared and 2. i don't like cooking so what do i need herbs for? :) But I am with Bethany. Once you do cook with fresh herbs its SO MUCH BETTER! and 3. why plant herbs when they will get trampled by 3 boys and eaten by rabbits? But putting them into pots sounds VERY interesting to me. Why hadn't I thought of that before? And why did I just get rid of all those pots!! So that is my new goal this year....a little herb garden.

Finally- (wow this is a LONG comment-sorry) I love that you are checking back with your list and keeping on track. You rock! and are a complete inspiration to me.

Joe said...

I am very much looking forward to some Pizza Margharita and a bunch of Mint Tea and Mojitos this year!!!

kassie lou said...

The basil is in a big pot. The mint is safely contained and half the reason I thought we'd grow herbs this year was to stop paying ridiculous fresh herb prices at the grocery store. Last year we did a CSA and got a ton of basil and chives and it was wonderful. I love cooking with fresh herbs, but hate paying $3 for a little packet. And I'm glad to hear that as long as I don't forget to water they should survive. That has happened once or twice before!

I may need your pesto recipe, Bethany.

Matt- which nursery did you work at? My parents could barely keep our grass green when I was a kid. My dad turned into a crazy gardener last summer. It makes me laugh.

Katrina - one of my favorite summer memories was harvesting tomatoes with my grandpa. And yet I have no interest in a veggie garden. Odd I guess.

Anonymous said...

Kassie - I'm so glad that you're getting hooked on gardening. I love to get my hands dirty. Plenty of perennials to share with you in April.

Pick said...

I worked at Earl May back then...they came in several times. I doubt they would remember me, but I do remember seeing their name on a check or CC and asking them if you were their daughter. After that I always told them to tell you hello. I don't think I ever told you to tell them hello though.