Trowel and Error

I’ll come clean and admit I’m not nearly the gardener either of my parents were.They managed to put together a yard that Better Homes and Gardens would be proud of. My dad built all sorts of garden structures and learned how to grow bonsais. My mom could tell you what everything was and what kind of fertilizer it liked. I suspect orchids liked her as much as she liked them.

Me? Mostly I like to play in the dirt and try to make the yard look nice. I am fascinated though, by what springs from the earth after I plant it. I am beside myself with pleasure when, despite my lack of knowledge regarding growing technique and Latin or even common names for plants, something blooms and thrives. I’ll drag my wife and daughter outside and show them what has dared pop out of the earth in my flower bed. I’ll exclaim, “Look at that, isn’t it pretty?” They’ll ask me what it is and I’ll say, “I have no idea!” Truth be told, I sometimes suspect that when I achieve success in the garden it means one of two things: either absolutely anyone with the ability to dig in the dirt can grow it, or I’ve chosen a plant which would more appropriately be sold as a “Pretty Pest” and will take over my neighbors yard after first making mine its mother ship.

I’ve read books on garden design and climate and micro-climate and soil type and yada yada yada. Due either to stubbornness, laziness, or a diabolical combination of both, I’ve settled on a strategy that sort of works (for me). My strategy is it either lives or it dies, but even if it thrives, I may dig it up and replace it anyway. I’ll probably stick with that, but I still wish I could remember what the bush with the funny looking pink flowers is called.

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