When we moved into our house last year, I went through a big crazy faze with yard decor and made up all these elaborate plans that involved trellis and adjectives like, “English cottage gardens.”
Unfortunately, as much as I appreciate a beautiful garden and love the pipe dream of having one, I abhor doing yard work. I hate every fucking thing about it. I hate that you have to be so gentle with plants when you transplant them, I hate feeling like you can’t sleep in on a hot morning because things need watering, and I hate the disappointment of killing things. Which I do often. The learning curve is more like a hump that I just can’t seem to get over. I can’t even get my sight on a roadmap that tells me what to do or where to go.
But I just can’t seem to stay away. Year after year, I blow wads of cash on hanging baskets. I buy bulbs. I buy elaborate planters with decorate grasses and mounding flowers.
For example, I’ve got some gorgeous lantanas and a great hanging basket with nubby little strawberries popping out of the blossoms.
I’ve whined endlessly about the challenges of working with clay soil. I’ve partially amended that this spring by sticking largely to container gardening. In fact, after looking around our pathetic scrubby lawn (it’s a huge joke around here–that Jon can grow acres and acres of beautiful hay but we just can’t seem to get our shit together in our own yard) as the grass came in this spring, I decided: Fuck it. I’m not wasting my time this year. Containers only. That’s it.
In fact, when Jon suggested I mow the lawn I just flat told him, “You know? I just don’t care about this yard. It doesn’t actually bother me that it looks crazy. If I could have it my way, I’d tear up all this grass and scatter wildflower seeds and turn it back into a prairie.”
Jon says this isn’t possible and that what happens instead is just weeds taking over or something–says his friends tried it several years ago and spent a lot of money trying to do it and nothing ever worked out. Whatever. I was so devested by this point that I just shrugged and went back inside.
Last year, when we first moved into this house, the people at our local gardening center suggested I plant Russian sage, which is a beautiful leggy bush with cool purple flowers. It also smells like sage, which I adore. They said it would flourish in the clay, which sounded good to me. I bought eight plants.
But about three days after planting, we got hit with torrential rains that poured off the (still) gutterless roof and basically beat every new planting into the ground, where it cemented into the wet clay soil and choked. When it finally began to recover about six weeks later, Jon mistook them for weeds and accidentally weed-whacked them. So that was that. I was so discouraged that I didn’t even bother yanking the dumb things out of the ground.
So imagine my surprise when I looked down off the porch over the weekend and saw, well, this.
The sage came back. They weren’t kidding. Those little babies are hardy! (That smatter of caramel gunk at its roots is fish fertilizer, not poop. If that’s what you were thinking.) That has to be a good sign, right?
I was so inspired by their tenacity that I mustered some of my own, then went out and bought a whole host of new spring plants and stuck ’em in the ground.
So it begins.
Just can’t get enough.