Photo by Master1305

The Crazy Gardener

According to my grandmother, it’s time — time for spring terms like trowel, transplanter, cultivator, and tiller. For condo dwellers, there are containers, and for owners of large homes, it’s portions of their backyards. My grandmother advised us never to plant seeds until after Easter, when the chance of frost has vanished, so here we are in the season of the green thumb. If you really do get an A for effort, then I am at the top of my class when it comes to gardening.

The truth is, I can kill a cactus. In fact, I already have. Friends have gifted me plants in the past, from spider plants to bamboo to lilies, and I’ve killed them all. The current record for keeping one alive is just under a year. I am well-meaning, telling myself every April this will be the year I’ll reap some kind of harvest, when in reality, I’m more of a plant hospice worker.

I’ve tried everything in every kind of container or soil. The most bizarre technique was hay bale gardening, where I bought and hauled several hay bales into the front yard. The idea is that if you keep the center of the hay bales moist enough, they will transform into compost, and you can plant things in them. The result? Wet, malformed hay that became an eyesore for those who lived in and around my home.

I currently reside in a town house, and my back deck has been the latest lab for my scientific experiments. I saw somewhere that if you play Morticia Addams and snip off the buds of roses and plant the stem in some honey concoction, an abundance of roses will grow. I tried that last spring, and guess what happened? Nothing.

I’m unsure why I am so determined to have a garden, since no one is asking me to. Maybe it’s some phantom pressure as a Southern woman or maybe I’m simply jealous of the fact that nearly everyone I know has a successful garden. I even bought a small greenhouse with shelves for my deck a few months ago. I set up the tower with its plastic covering and put some terra cotta and ceramic pots I had gathered inside so I was ready when the time came. Heavy storms knocked it over and broke what was inside. Even God wants me to stop.

But like Rocky, bloodied and grasping for the ropes, I still get up. When I take walks in a nearby park, I look at the maintenance crews, pruning, and planting, for clues as I pass by. I listen to friends talk about their green projects and remember my own parents, whose half-acre garden provided us with plenty of vegetables and fruit. I peruse gardening centers and spy on others who seem to know what they are doing.

So, it’s spring and here we go again. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and it seems gardening has made me crazy.