Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary"

Remember that old nursery rhyme? "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockleshells" and something else that I can't remember now but whatever it was it was "all in a row."

This morning, while Maya romped around the living room playing with various toys - mainly her Barbie princess dolls that she loves to remove their clothes and then brings them to me, one at a time, with the outfit to put back on the doll - and Kurtis was still sleeping, I managed to snag enough time to make the rounds of the favorite blogs I try to read every day.

One thing I noticed in today's rounds is that a lot of my favorite bloggers have flower gardens, some even have vegetable gardens too, and several of them even have some beautiful photos on their blogs of their pretty flowers "all in a row" or the vegetable or herb gardens they are working on and how well they are doing.

How I envy these people! Gardening is something I've never been able to "cultivate."

Although I come from a long line of gardeners - my Grandpa ALWAYS had a huge garden, every year until his health no longer permitted his doing that but even then, my Mom and Grandma took up the slack as much as they could manage and we still always had a fairly large vegetable garden, as well as having many flowers around the yard that Grandpa had planted here over the years. There was a huge peony bush that grew at the back of the house and for many, many years would blossom so beautifully - those huge lush flowers so big and heavy that the plant would be bent almost in half with the weight of the blooms on it.

The lot adjacent to my house now, when I was a kid, Grandpa had across the front several rose bushes which he tended to ever so lovingly. Beautiful roses they were. There was also a big forsythia bush over in that part of the yard and in the middle, he had a circular flower garden filled with all kinds of beautiful flowers. He had a section along the back part of the two lots - that separated the main back yard from the area where he had his vegetable garden and it had rows of dahlias, flocks and other larger flowers that he grew there too. There were also three big apple trees in the main back yard and a smaller apple tree down in the back lot as well. Over the years, all three of the big apple trees were cut down for one reason or another. A big old pine tree that used to stand between this lot and the adjacent one also had to be removed because the roots tended to spread and tangle themselves into the pipes leading from the house into the septic tank and inevitably created a problem that would cause the commode to back up into the house too then. And there was also a great big, really prickly type, fir tree/bush that grew alongside the chimney on the house too and it had to go as well. That one I never regretted seeing it cut down as it was so prickly it made trimming around it very difficult plus, the tiny "spear-like" parts it dropped on the ground made running around the yard in one's bare feet a real challenge!

After my kids and I moved from the house my ex-husband and I had built on the lot next door into this house - which had been built in 1903 by my Grandparents - I decided each spring for several years running that I would try to grow some vegetables in the back lot - like Grandpa had done all through my childhood and probably for at least 20-30 years before that.

I would have the area plowed and harrowed, try to rake through the ground more and get it ready to plant some things there - nothing fancy, not a whole lot but the normal vegetables most people tend to plant - onions, lettuce, radishes, carrots, peas, beets, corn, potatoes, some cabbage plants, tomatoes, cucumbers and occasionally I'd throw some pumpkin and squash seeds into the mix as well.

These designs I had in my mind for a nice vegetable garden that would provide fresh food for my kids and me at the end of the summer were all thwarted by what must surely be the "black thumb" that seems to plague me when it comes to gardening of any type!

Put a plant in my care and it will die - sure as God made little green apples - you could probably set a clock by the length of time these plants would last in my care! They would barely get out of the ground and presto magic, the black thumb apparently was waved over them and they would wither up and die!

In all the years I tried to have a garden in my back yard, the most I ever was able to get from any of my gardens was one year, I did "harvest" a cup - yes a whole cup - of peas!

My neighbor, now deceased, who lived two doors from me and who often used to admire and compare gardening notes too with my Grandpa told me one year after watching me trying to tend to my puny plants that if my Grandpa would see me, see this futile effort I was making to grow some things, he was probably rolling in his grave right now - either from sheer consternation or in laughter! The neighbor wasn't quite sure which emotion would be present - maybe even both!

So now I have long since given up the dream of ever having a nice garden from which to venture out and bring in fresh veggies, with all their better flavor, good nutrients and such to prepare for a family dinner.

I wish I could figure out how to correct these problems I have with the "growing greener" programs cause I'd sure love to go out in the garden and pick a ripe tomato right from the vine, rub the dirt off on my shirt or shorts and pop it into my mouth. Nothing tastes better than fresh food like that - dirt and all, ya know.

But for the sake of those poor seeds in the packets, the seedlings one can purchase at the greenhouses too - I don't want to cause anymore death and destruction to the plant kingdom of the world.

On a side note - changes around the house here - on Sunday, Mandy and Maya took a run over to Walmart for a few things and they came home with an inflatable pool for my little princess to play in! And, play she has too!

Sunday night, she couldn't wait until her Dad got the pool all inflated. He took it up to my son's and used the air compressor to do that task and when she saw him pull up out front, with that pool all inflated, ready to be filled with water, you can just imagine how excited and happy she was!

She "helped" Uncle Clate hold the hose to start filling it with water and as soon as she saw there was enough water in there to at least get her feet wet, in she went! For close to an hour, before supper, she romped around in the water, in the pool -out of the pool, just having herself a ball. Trying to pry her away to get her to come in, get dried off, dry clothes on to eat supper was quite a challenge. Sitting up to the table, she kept turning around, looking longingly at the front door as she knew, just on the other side of that door was that wonderful pool waiting for her return. There was an appetite for only one thing - going back out and into the pool. We tried and tried to reason with her that she needed to eat, etc., to no avail. At one point, she looked at us and said "Go swimming now. I eat later!" Full sentences are not usually a part of her vocabulary just yet and this one, so appropriately inserted into the dinner table conversation completely cracked all of us up!

Yesterday, Mandy had her outside, in the pool for about an hour or so in the late morning hours and again, in the afternoon for close to two hours so she really fully enjoyed herself "swimming." It's a bit on the dark side today - calling for rain sometime this afternoon so she hasn't seemed to even think about going "swimming" again - at least not as yet today but I'll lay odds the subject will come up again sometime before supper unless the rain moves in before then.

Have a nice day all!


Linda said...

I don't have much of a 'green thumb' myself but normally I have some very lovely flower boxes and other assorted potted flower boxes on my front porch but this year I've got nothing except one plant that a friend gave me.

I miss my flowers but I just haven't had the energy or the money to do them this year. I feel that's horribly pathetic but now that it's almost the end of June already, I rather doubt I'm going to get them in at all.

I really need to find me some more energy somewhere!

Shelby said...

you make me laugh! :)

two things:

1. On my blog - you made me laugh out loud 'cause YES I'm hard on myself - and your descriptionh of your daughter sounds exactly like me. We must be twins separated at birth.

2. On your blog - you can too have a garden!! If I can do it - trust me - ANYBODY can do it.
I have no green thumb. I've never had a garden before. My first is this one. So far nothing has died.
All you gotta do is, till up some ground, just a little bit for a couple or three plants (I suggest start small). Get your son or one of the other big children to do it for ya..it's quite a little strenous job, but do-able.
Then go to WalMart or Lowes or Home Depot or the local garden city or coop and buy some veggies and/or herbs... put 'em in the ground. Water them. Or before that, put some garden soil (bagged) on top of what you tilled. Water, fertilize (bagged) ... look up simple simple stuff on the internet. You'll be amazed. Really. I am.
It's quite hot out there tho, take many mini breaks - I did.
And GET SOME GARDEN GLOVES! I made the mistake of not knowing to do that and I've torn up my hands with blisters.

Ok - I'm gonna check back and see how you're doing :)

Sylvia said...

I live in an apartment, second floor and had "flower baskets" on the railing of the balcony. Imagine the surprise for the tenant below when I watered them. Needless to say, they did not last but one year.