I had no idea that gardening was such hard work. I knew that it was work. And I knew that one can get a lot of fulfillment out of it. However, I had no idea that it would kick my rear end the way it has. It has been 90 plus degrees (Fahrenheit) here for the last couple of days. I had the bright idea to get a bunch of plants, garden soil, flowers, and some bags of mulch, and I thought it would be great to put off planting until it was hot. This would be sarcasm.
I procrastinated planting these plants that I bought a few days earlier when it was nice, and the temperature did not go above 80 degrees (Fahrenheit). I was in the mindset of being productive inspired by the neighbors’ yards. One of the neighbors has had their yard looking nice for some time. They fertilize their lawn and mow in a pattern. They have beautiful flowers in hanging flower pots. Their edges are perfect. And they have statues and lawn decorations near the house. Another set of neighbors have potted plants that they have brought out to adorn the front of their home along the walkway. Their lawn is manicured nicely as well. The neighbor next door has someone manicure his lawn, and the plants around the driveway and walkway are those that need little to no maintenance. They are beautiful. The neighbors on the other side of our house used to garden in the past, but have since grown a bit older and have a hard time now. So they have someone mow the pathway around their garden leaving the gorgeous peonies, daffodils, and irises among hastas and other plants to grow fiercely and rapidly unencumbered. It is absolutely stunning to say the least to view their back garden from my deck. The various wildlife, such as chipmunks, squirrels, owls, cardinals, finches, and other small animals, seem to take up residence and shelter in this small sanctuary. There are a couple of trees that provide shade for their garden as well. It really is quite striking.
Then I look at my property, and an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy comes over me. Being who I am, I pull myself up by my bootstraps and get to work. I do not allow cancer to stop me from providing for my household in anyway that I can. That includes making our home an inviting and safe environment that is clean and causes those who shelter here to feel at ease and comfortable. The inviting part includes inside and out. So, I have the daunting task of maintaining the front and back gardens. That is where we are today – sweating profusely but drinking a gallon of water each of the last three days.
I pulled all of the weeds that filled the back garden on the side of the deck so that I had somewhat of a blank slate. I then grabbed my shovel and began digging 2 large holes for the “fireside” bushes. Then spread 2 bags of mulch around them. After 2 hours, I decided enough for that day as my hands were shaking some uncontrollably. I went inside and rested while hydrating and cooling off.
The next day, I pulled out all of the weeds in another section, dug 5 holes for the “Queen Victoria” plants that I bought. These are said to bloom in late summer and early autumn. They are said to be bright red blooms. So it will be a striking contrast to the black mulch I am putting down at the base of my garden. I already have big beautiful “Star Gazers” at the corner next to some “Banana Leaf Plants”. Last year, the “Banana Leaf Plants” were huge and overpopulated the areas they were in. So I cut them all down last fall and dug some of them up. This year, they are beginning to grow back beautifully. They are a hearty plant, like hastas, that really don’t need a lot. The “Star Gazers” near the corner are a stunning pink when they bloom. And the really tall “Star Gazers” near the steps of my deck bloom a captivatingly pure white. And the scent is absolutely wonderful.
Today, I picked up all of the leaves around the area. Then I spread all of the rest of the 4 bags of mulch around the base of the plants. I gave them all a good water. The walkway needed a good sweep to it after pulling all the weeds and leaves along with the mulch bits scattered everywhere. So I got that done. Now, it looks glorious. I walked around the yard picking up sticks and toys. I put the wood stack holder back to the far corner of the garden where it belongs, and now the last thing that needs to be done in the back and side of the house is to weed-eat and mow. That will be later this evening when it isn’t so sweltering out there.
Maybe tomorrow, I can get the front of the house squared away. I have some pansies to plant and a plant called “Volcano”. I already have sweet mint, spearmint, stone cover (with yellow blooms), and irises along the walkway and driveway. I also have some “Red King Cannas” and a rose bush next to a lilac bush, which I need to prune back, sandwiched between to large bushes. The last thing in the front that I have off to one side of the house is the rest of the “Banana Leaf Plants” that I mentioned before. I cut them all down last fall, and I have allowed about 10 the grow back up. It was like a jungle last year. Really pretty though, so I have decided to keep them. Last year, I had “Dragon’s Breath” (celosia) plants in the front. They were a deep red and spectacular to say the least. This year, I cannot find them anywhere. So I went with the “Volcano” plants. I hope they do well. I am looking forward to them filling in and growing in the garden. I had to thin back the sweet mint as it was over taking the walkway. Then the front will get weed-eated and mowed.
It is a lot of work to begin, but hopefully after all is said and done, I can have a peaceful time pulling weeds over this summer, and it won’t be so back breaking. I am very thankful that I can do these things. There is no complaint to be read into this writing. This time a couple of years ago, and I could not even walk into a garden much less work in the garden. I am rejoicing in every moment in that garden and this house. Maintaining a nice environment for my husband and children is something I joy in. It is hard work physically given the damage that has been done to my bones from the cancer. But it feels good to do stuff around the house to help with physical and emotional needs of my family. I mean so good. That, and the garden is a good place to just revel in God’s creation, thanking Him for all of the ways He has protected and provided for us as well as taught us through the various hardships that we have endured. Hopefully, I can continue on long into my children’s adult lives. I hope you all have a great day.
Gotta go fill up my cup…