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Another Day in the Country

A passion for gardening

© Another Day in the Country

With snow on the ground, I find myself hankering to be outside in the yard — mowing, digging, pruning, planting — and I can’t! I’m pretty much house-bound, and I am chafing at the imposition.

For some reason, I didn’t have a chance to plant more tulips or daffodils this year. Where did the time go? I think it happened because I wasn’t shopping in places that sold flower bulbs this fall, and December with its threat of perpetually freezing weather sneaked up on me.

I found myself hankering for growing things. Like many inventive octogenarians, I turned to television and watched a program from the BBC called “Gardener’s World” to fill my senses with growing, budding, blooming flowers while it all looked so easy and doable from an easy chair.

My season and the growing season in England were completely off kilter, but I watched all the episodes of this season’s offering and found myself taking notes about ideas I still could pull off in Kansas.

You know me and my hunger for drifts of daffodils come spring time. I was mourning the fact that I’d seemingly missed my chance for dazzling drifts again. And then, I saw an option — planting bulbs in pots, which solved two problems.

It wasn’t too late to plant in pots on my enclosed back porch. Come spring, I wouldn’t have to remove spent foliage that had live out its life cycle when it was time to be planting annuals in the vicinity.

This gardener often becomes impatient with leaves that are less than tidy and wants to cut them off or mow them down. I could just stick the tulip pots in a shady corner, per the wise television host, and ignore them for the summer.

While someone else was doing all the dirty work, I actually wrote down a list of bulbs and seeds I needed.

Thanks to Amazon, I found some available and sent for my wishful-thinking order of bulbs to plant immediately.

So, here I am, with Christmas approaching, buying potting mix instead of poinsettia plants with plans to have all the bulbs snug in their beds before Christmas Eve.

Who knows if this fantasy will materialize as I’m envisioning, since I don’t have a greenhouse like the one I saw (and envied) on the gardening show. But I do have an enclosed back porch and maybe that’ll do.

“Maybe that’ll do,” seems to be my motto where gardening is concerned.

Having exhausted all the shows of “Gardener’s World,” I received a suggestion from a nosy algorithm that I watch another show, which I did today, about a very wealthy gardener’s perfect creation over acres of land. After seeing it, I needed a good dose of reality.

I have never had acres of land to turn into a garden. And, more to the point, I’ve never had the money or the help to pull something like that off — even if I wanted it.

I do have an acre, more or less, where I’m free to plant gardens, but the restraint still is money (and energy).

Gardening is expensive. Seeds are costly. Every spring I’m amazed at how fast $200 disappears. That’s usually my limit.

Several years ago, as I was doing my sister a favor and mowing her front patch of lawn, I said, “Why don’t you get rid of this ugly, weedy grass, put down mulch, and plant yourself the kind of little garden you want in front of your house, with flowers you like?” 

The very next summer, she did just that. The only thing she kept was what we called the Junior Hanschu Memorial Hedge (another story, too long for today) on each side of a sidewalk leading to her front door and a bridal wreath bush, which she cut back severely.

Jess, a relatively new gardener, now has a beautiful front yard — an organized, planned, charted-out, mulched, and recorded space that is lovely to behold.

I, who have been passionate about gardening as long as I can remember, have never had an organized, charted-out garden.

My gardens usually begin with what someone else has started and neglected — the bones of the yard, the tall trees, the surviving perennials, often planted by some long-ago forgotten soul.

Usually, I don’t have much money to spend, so I make do with what comes up, gifted plants, cuttings, and gathered seed, filling in with my hundred bucks of annuals every year.

There are never the finances to make wandering paths (which I saw on television), water features, monuments, greenhouses, and rose gardens.

I now live in Kansas, where “things that survive” is as close to a planting layout as I get.

“Plants grasshoppers don’t eat” is another important category as I extol the benefits of planting four-o’clocks and iris.

I do have a water feature, which much to my ducks’ dismay is currently frozen over.

And I do have tulip bulbs arriving daily. They’re my Christmas gift to myself, with fruition hopefully coming in spring on another day in the country.

Last modified Dec. 6, 2023

 

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