“Mary, Mary, quite contrary. How does your garden grow?” What does that mean? I’d like to know. Because. My name is Mary. I’m probably quite contrary. But does that mean that I will never learn to garden? Or does that mean that I could grow silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids in a row? I don’t even know what those are. So, I looked it up. YIKES! This children’s rhyme is referring to Bloody Mary as in Henry VIII’s daughter. The garden is referring to a graveyard for Protestants. The silver bells and cockle shells refer to instruments of torture, and the “maids” refer to the original guillotine. Ummmmm…..I just wanted to talk about my gardening skills, or lack thereof.
The only part of that whole thing I can relate to is the garden being a graveyard…..not for Protestant martyrs, but for all the sad remains of my once living plants. I think I need gardening boot camp….you know like that show Worst Cooks in America on Food Network where they bring in the worst cooks they can find based on auditions and interviews. Then they put them through a 5-6 week boot camp; and by the end, the two remaining contestants vying for the title of Worst Cook in America and $25,000 are cooking gourmet meals you would find in fancy restaurants at high prices for food critics to judge. That’s what I need. I need HGTV to do a Worst Gardner in America Show….and the $25,000 at the end could pay for all my previous gardening mishaps.
Here’s the thing. When I find a yummy recipe to make for my family, I make a list of ingredients and head to the local grocery store. I do know how to cook; but when I get to the store, I’m faced with the conundrum of buying harvested fresh herbs or buying a plant of the same variety for the same price which could yield said herbs for many more meals. Of course, with my frugal thinking, I buy the plant. Nevermind that I have only, to-date, kept this one basil plant alive….in my bathroom. My bathroom is the only room in my house with enough sunlight to keep a plant alive. It’s not pretty, and it’s not hardy; but it’s alive, and often when I’m cooking and a child is telling me a very long story because that’s what they do, I say, “Follow me….I need to get some bathroom basil.” I feel so gardeny and earthy when I sit on the side of my bathtub to harvest fresh herbs for our nutrituions, delicious meal.
So, what happens is I buy the plants, bring them home, forget about them, wake up one morning to the poor thing limply hanging on by sheer will. Then, I rush to rescue the poor thing by pouring way too much water on it, and end up killing it by accidental drowning. How this basil plant has survived this long is beyond me because I still follow this same watering pattern with it.
Yesterday I asked my husband to rescue my latest victim, a mint plant. Then I forgot, and it looked much worse this morning. So I asked him to do it before work because surely it would not survive the day. Why didn’t I do it? Well, I’m not entirely sure how, and the poor plant has already suffered enough. It doesn’t need me to add insult to injury as I try to transplant it. It just wouldn’t be a fair to the plant. But that’s not all. To be totally honest….I really don’t like getting dirty. I do have some pretty gardening gloves, and I like the way they look. I like the way they look clean. I don’t want to get them dirty either. As I was realizing this new insight, I said, “You know, I think I’m the kind of gardener who likes to tell you what to do, and then have you do the work.” Yeah. That’s my kind of gardening.
So. With all this said, I’m a little concerned about the outside garden. It doesn’t just have dirt. It has bugs and humidity and I saw a squirrel in it the other day. UGH! I’m not sure I can handle it. I also tend to be a fair weather gardner. For instance, the wind was blowing A LOT yesterday. So, I skipped watering. But, it turns out it doesn’t matter because when I went out to water today, it was clear I had already smothered most of the hedge shrubs with too much love (water). Of the 20 shrubs we planted, I think there are about nine that still resemble living plants (and that’s being generous). Most of them are hanging on by only a few green specs. I’m not sure about the trees. The Aspens look good, which surprises me. They are a Colorado tree. The humidity here is going to kill them if I don’t do it first. The evergreens are showing some yellow, but still have more green than yellow. And I really can’t tell anything with the lilac or blueberry bush yet. I may just be watering dead sticks every day. Then there’s the onions and potatoes. I’d say they’ve got a 50/50 chance still.
I’m beginning to think this Mary is quite contrary to gardening. Maybe I should move to condo somewhere with no yard responsibilities, no garden, and a plethora of farmer’s markets to shop.