Here is a guest rant from Rebecca/The Potato Queen
I am a sloppy amateur gardener.
My vegetable garden is a mad tangle of poorly supported pole
beans battling for supremacy against cucumbers in the same condition and
tomatoes that long ago overgrew their cages. A visitor viewing my vegetable
garden sees not tidy rows of orderly produce, but a jungle of poorly thinned,
weed-infested vines and stems, apparently trying to strangle each other.
My flower beds are currently overrun with weeds. When
I DO remember to weed, I leave behind me piles of little green corpses I forget
to pick up later. I may be losing two new little shrubs I planted this
spring due to ignorant placement and lax watering during this oppressive
summer. There’s a giant branch in the middle of the backyard from last week’s
storms: it will probably still be lying there this weekend.
Where others see this:
When I first began to garden in my little townhouse, I
envied the professionally landscaped yards of some of my neighbors. Everything
was just so, the right plants for the environment, perfectly balanced
arrangements, like something from a magazine.
A year into my first efforts, that envy disappeared. Since
then my favorite landscape has always been my own. I’ve had many failures with
flowers and edibles, but after that first year, the successes began to
outnumber the failures. And because I planted it, every bloom and leaf is
special to me. The most special: the ones given to me by friends and especially
by my dad.
Six years later when I left that little townhouse for a
little blue house with my now-husband, I left behind a proud legacy of flowers
where once there was nothing but English ivy and honeysuckle. The new
owners knew nothing of that transformation, and tore out most of my lovingly
tended shrubs and flowers. But some remain, including my dad’s beautiful
white peonies. (In evil moments, I consider digging them up under cover
of darkness and bringing them home.)
The new house offered a much bigger canvas: a quarter acre
of weedy, patchy yard, some random plantings apparently made to dress up the
yard for sale, and a oddball planting of ten miniature arborvitae-like trees
spanning the front yard along the curb. Six years earlier, I would have
probably left all as-is. Instead, I saw a big playground in which I could
continue to dig and grow (and yes, kill–sigh) on an even larger scale.
The secret? It’s not that I’ve become a master
gardener. While my successes do outnumber my failures these days, I still
have a lot of failures (zucchini, anyone?). I still am lazy and often
don’t follow the rules, resulting in mess and death in the garden.
The secret is I have ceased to fear failure. No matter how
many failures I continue to have, I believe that anything is possible.
I’m looking at you, zucchini.