Gardening- the genteel pastime, where one just strolls through the garden with some gloves and a secateur cutting armloads of lilies and delphiniums. Right?
This is something that I have never done. Gardening to me is about getting as filthy dirty as humanely possible. It is about moving a plant six or seven times until it finally looks right. It is about Japanese Beetles swarming when you water a garden- so that I find a disgusting beetle in my hair hours later. It is about sweating through three changes of clothes on the hottest July day- the only one I’ve had free all summer to really get out and dig stuff up and move it around.
Gardening is also about money. The more the better. Robin Lane Fox said, in yesterday’s Financial Times, “gardening is not shopping.” True. But unless one has cows or horses, you end up like me, paying $5 per bag of shit. They call it composted manure, but we both know what it is. If I had more money, I’d get a bigger SUV that I could attach a small trailer to- and then I could have four loads of compost as needed throughout the summer. And mulch. And weeds to the compostland. And water- with more money I’d have the whole thing on drip irrigation, but instead I spray water all day on weekends- regardless of how hot it is, because that is the time and way I have to garden. With a real lot of money, you could be like the Duchess of Cornwall and stroll through the garden with secateurs.
Today I threw money down the drain- dug up a newly planted variegated porcelain berry vine that had been eaten down to the nubs by my old nemesis Japanese Beetles. I also dug out and threw away a sedum that has mysteriously been chewed to bits by something, possibly slugs or some kind of caterpillar.
Sometimes you have to know when to call it quits and go inside for a lemonade. I think now is the time. Happy gardening!