Monday, April 28, 2008

IN THE GARDEN…FUN AND FOIBLES



Some People Would Kill For Karen's Golden Arrow Award


Pet's Truck Loaded Down With Her Latest Project

Pet

My name is Petrina and I am a compulsive gardener! I love to dig in the dirt and when the sun shines, I'm outside every hour I can spare. Nothing stops me not even when I pulled a weed from under a rose bush and a furious horde of yellow jackets, stingers extended (think tiny swords), attacked me. Covered with hundreds of the tiny devils, I hightailed to the front door and found hubby screaming, Don't bring those things inside. Good thing our then house stood on a mountain, far from civilization, because I rapidly shed clothes, knocked spouse aside and ran for the shower. He swatted while I downed half a bottle of anti-histamines. Do you think I need to go to a gardeners anonymous meeting?

Karen

Yes!!!!!!! I might as well join you. I have the gardening bug too. Especially in the spring when my garden looks best. Plus I live in a town where you are judged as much by your garden as you are by the kind of car you drive. Here in Pasadena, we have our own Oscars for gardeners. They call the prize Golden Arrow. Just like the Oscars you have to be nominated by your peers. Now I'm not a gardening snob so although many of my neighbors coveted the Golden Arrow, I just did my gardening thing and didn't expect anyone would notice all my hard work. Then one day I found an invitation in the mail to attend the awards ceremony for the Golden Arrow and that I had won an award. Instead of being thrilled I now was put in the awkward position of having to tell my neighbors up the street who had been spending tons of cash on a landscaper in order to win the coveted arrow, that I had on a limited budget, and with just my two hands, won.

Pet

I'm impressed. Will your talents ever cease? Me, I don't know if even have a green thumb. My rule of gardening: whatever grows, plant plenty. I've now bought flats of yellow and orange marigolds, salvia, or scarlet sage, as I like to call them, those new wave petunias you don't have to dead head, and yellow snapdragons. If only they'd listen when I talk to them, jump into the ground, and plant themselves. I'm not sure how many plants in a flat but a big bunch. Today the sun blasts away in very clear air, but I had an eye doctor appointment this morning, got the orbs dilated and now can't go out for a few more hours. I guess I'll put on a pair of strong sunglasses and at least go outside to commune with my neglected babies.

Karen

Now that's dedication! Despite my award I'm much more laid back about my garden. I picked a lot of plants that basically look great with neglect. My little secret, don't tell. : ) I also have some more demanding plants like my roses but again I try to chose very disease resistant varieties. My favorites are a Peace, Double Delight, Fourth of July, Iceberg, and a beautiful lavender rose that the previous owners planted. Now that spring is here I can have fresh flowers in the house all the time. In fact I need to get back out in the garden cut some more roses. I hate to waste any of the flowers and it's a great way to avoid dead heading. : )

Pet

I'm also a big fan of flowers inside. My mother used to say, "You pick so many flowers for inside you won't have any left outside." She's the one who taught me. We used to pick armloads of wild daisies every spring and fill up all the vases. Yes in Queens New York, we found enough fields growing daisies to go nuts picking them. I have a wild daisy plant in my garden this year. I didn't have the heart to send it to daisy heaven. I cheat big time with roses. Plant the miniature kind and they grow like crazy, love to be picked and brought inside for cute arrangements.

Karen

I make sure my garden has enough flowers to keep the Golden Arrow judges happy but also make the inside of my house look like a flower shop. LOL Of course my allergies let me know when I've gone totally overboard. My neighbors have some amazing roses and we love to exchange flowers. They even give me cutting of my favorites. Now that's what I call neighborly. : ) In tinsel town suffering for beauty is not an option but a necessity. The things I've gone through to have a magazine perfect garden. Besides the yellow jackets, what other earthly disasters have you suffered out in the country?

Pet

Disasters? Hubby and I have lived through gardening traumas. We feel the pain whenever we move out of the house where we've slaved for years plowing, planting, watering and fertilizing until we get our outside looking just right. Happens every time: the next owners totally destroy our perfect plot. Usually we simply avoid passing the once beautiful, now offensive, yard. We sold one of the last houses to relatives, so we have to go back to visit. When they first moved in, they rapidly pulled out all those perennials we'd planned to grow in sequence and replaced them with annuals. Have to admit the new garden is bright and colorful, but I still mourn my uprooted babies, taken in the prime of their lives! Sniff.

Karen

Oh, don't get me started. I planted a beautiful English herb garden at my old house. I had to go through great pains to find just the right herbs as there was a large tree that would shade the garden through part of the day. The new owners were former apartment dwellers. They were clueless about being plant caretakers. They sold the house a year after they bought it due to a divorce. I could totally see that coming. : ) Anyway when I went to the open house I almost screamed when I saw the backyard. They had torn up my beautiful herb garden to put in a humungous spa!!!!!!!!! And that wasn't the end of their destruction. We had a cute little shed where I'd placed beautiful little window boxes loaded down with wonderful flowers and long draping ivy. The result looked like a miniature version of the main house. The husband tore them off and turned the shed into a biker bar. !!!!!!!!!! I needed the largest margarita in the world after that visit!

Pet

Before we close out our garden disasters, here's one more. Some years ago, when we lived on the mountain in Maryland, the modern house and the century old farmhouse were surrounded by what once had been beautiful gardens, now in disrepair. Took us a couple of years to restore, add to and keep up, but we did. Noticing the large front garden could use more greenery; I took some pretty plants growing in a flat and popped in a few dozen. After all, they came from an innocent herb oregano and I love oregano. At that time, I didn't know the old Greek saying, "One oregano plant will feed all of Greece." So the cute little plants, with the pretty white flowers, grew and prospered, grew and prospered ad nausea. I spent a good deal of time cutting back the stuff. Bet you guessed. We sold the house and the new owners let the enduring herb grow wild. Last we looked enough oregano grew for the whole world and choked all the other perennials to death. No more visits!

Karen

I learned my lesson too. Never look back. Unfortunately my hubby doesn't feel the same. Just the other day he wanted to drive by our old house. I almost had to do a double take. Instead of a large patch of dead lawn we were greeted by new sod. The once dried up deceased plants in the front flowerbed had been replaced by the living variety. The huge hedges that rim the property no longer looked like they would devour the house. They must have finally broken down and hired a gardener. Hooray!!!!!!!! But that's the last time I will ever cruise by. The garden still doesn't look the way I left it. No color at all in the once kaleidoscope filled front beds. I'm off to do some dead heading and pick a couple dozen roses. Have company coming and I always like to have the house smelling like a flower shop.

Pet

I'll leave you to your aromatic house and vibrant garden. The air in my abode is also quite fragrant. Sniff ......ah the pungent odor of Greek Oregano. Quick story. I asked dear hubby to till my veggie and herb garden ahead of planting. I told him the mint and oregano at one end, and the sage and lavender at the other were the only plants surviving the winter. Help!!! With mini tiller in hand, he did away with the hardy oregano and left a clump of pesky weeds. My favorite herb I'd been using all winter became mulch instead of spice. Happy ending. We found another robust Greek Oregano seedling at the fruit store, and we're back to cooking with class. Bye for now while I go out and play in the mud.


3 comments:

Fran said...

Yikes!!! I hate to think of all the negative thoughts the former owners of our home have when they drive by and see our weed infested gardens (not too mention the yard full of dandelions)

O well, keep up your good work for all to enjoy!

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

I'm always awed by (and envious of) people who garden. Even when it sounds frustrating, there's such JOY in reports of what's going on out there!

Not that I've ever tried gardening -- it just seems too daunting -- but it's always a treat to see the photos (or the actual garden) of somebody who's discovered that passion.

Laurie, wishing my neighbors would so I could enjoy the sights & scents without any of the work :)

Wendy& Bill Nealis said...

Oh my gosh,can we relate, why is it, that we can never seem to sell to a buyer who loves the garden,Remember a verse in a song, 'THEY TORE DOWN PARIDISE TO PUT UP A PARkING LOT' If we ever sell again, I will state ' house is free' ONLY CONDITION Please mataine my babies!