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I Could Be a Gardener; It Could Happen.
It’s spring and my garden, which I started working on last year, is starting to sprout. I don’t like that word, sprout; it seems so flippant. But sprouting is what is occurring and my desire to be authentic this year demands I call it what it is. It’s beautiful, or will be, and three people working on it every other week makes it so.
In my fantasy, I want to be my garden’s caretaker. Planter of things I love.
I have committed to it more than once. I bought the hat, the gloves, the basket, and the tools a bunch of times. I even spent a few thousand dollars once on bulbs — specifically peonies — that I planted dutifully in the fall. At some point before they would have bloomed early the next spring, they were pulled as weeds when the gardener went in to spring clean. I clearly should have done the spring cleanup myself. Or I should have marked them with those cool markers they sell in fancy plant places. Alas. One of them was yellow and it cost $100. I’m not kidding.
You see, I have this Martha Stewart vision of myself that comes from a place that has nothing to do with who I am. Truth is that when I would go to the garden to plant, weed, and create, I hated the way the earth felt on my hands, and I hated the way my back felt when I got up off the ground. Let’s not even discuss my knees, or the fact that all my work never seems to make a dent in anything after sweating and batting away bugs for hours. Okay, it wasn’t really hours; the longest I was ever out there in one day was probably an hour. But I wanted to do it. I really did.
My cousin had a POSLIQ. (Persons of Opposite Sex Living In Same Quarters; it’s an IRS term. Some of you call it living in sin.) Her name is Louise, and she loves to garden. We had lunch one day a few years ago, and she said she’d spent nine hours gardening the day before and loved the way she felt at the end of the day. I couldn’t help but wonder just why she felt so good at the end of the day, but I didn’t want to ask. Her gardens are cool, and in addition to roses and other fabulous flowers, she also grows things you can eat, like beans. I admire people who grow things like beans. They seem so… so helpful.
Shortly after our lunch, my cousin told me that Louise had also bought a power hose.
“A power hose,” I lamented. “Really? What the hell does she want to power clean?”
“The house,” he said proudly. “She wants to power-hose the house.”
“Well, you better not stand still outside,” I pointed out. “She will power hose you!” I wasn’t kidding.
She is amazing, that Louise, but just to show she is also one of us, she sent him a text while she was gardening that same day that read, “Please bring chocolate. Desperate.” So you can’t even hate her. She is one of us in her own way.
The thing is, I love the way gardens look. I fell in love with H2 (husband #2) walking around the rose gardens outside of Paris at Parc de Bagatelle, and then a four-hour lunch at Pré Catelan. It was our second date. I never forgot meandering through those rose gardens, and I never wanted to go back, sure as I was that the second time could only be a disappointment. I loved the way they smelled, and you could almost understand why roses are what they are to so many people.
So I love flowers and gardens, but I am not the girl in the garden nurturing the flowers to be their best selves, and that makes me sad indeed. I hope that the fact that I would like to be that girl will be enough. If you are a gardener, and you actually like it, then you sit in superiority to me and others like me. We do have other assets though. I like to drive long distances and listen to Sirius Radio while I’m driving. That’s something I really am good at.