Thursday, March 30, 2006

What's in a garden, anyway?

We moved from my parents' first home when I was six. I remember my parents talking about the trees they had planted nearly ten years before, and the flower beds of what I thought were "impatients." As the ultimate in frugal do-it-yourselfers, my parents took to landscaping their new house with "pompous grass" which can cut you and willows, azaleas and crepe myrtles in various shades of pink. Now that they've been in their house since 1987 the landscaping has filled out a bit into more of a jungle, but the first few years it was touch and go as to whether the neighbors were going to come kill us in our sleep.

There was a little scrap of dirt inbetween the back sidewalk and the house where we tried to grow crops for a few years. We did pretty well with green beans, hot peppers, and tomatoes. My mom grew up as one of eight kids on a farm, and although I think her lack of propensity with corn bothered her a bit we managed to grow a few things.

I say "we", but I mean "she." I had, and still have, no freaking clue what I'm doing. I grew some Martha Stewart parsley for 2 years but apparently that's about the lifespan of the parsley... bush? plant? herb? I don't know. I got an azalea as a birthday gift last year, one of those 1-800-flowers type deals where it's supposed to always bloom on your birthday or something - it died within a week. I realize that cut flowers are not meant to last, but I think even they hold something against me.

Now Paul and I have our own home. Our very own plot of land to do with as we wish. I know first hand how the dirty looks of neighbors can stop a clock, and we took care to choose a house and neighborhood that we could both afford and afford to keep up. I refuse to believe that I have..... that I have........ a black thumb............... I hold fast to the thought that I'm simply, woefully, ignorant. Even more ignorant now that I've moved 850 miles north and have even less of a clue about what is an appropriate yard crop. Or flower. I'd love to just waltz into Home Depot and pick up a flat of something and stick them in the ground - but I have no idea where to start.

Also, we have this twirly bush in the front yard. Do we just clip it so it stays twirly? When do we clip it? I don't want it to die. And I definitely don't want dirty looks from the neighbors.

8 comments:

Judy said...

Just turn up the southern accent and visit the nearest little old lady. She's sure to know how to take care of twirly bushes! And everyone up north just eats up a southern accent, especially in a woman...when I was younger and cuter I used to do it for sport when we visited my grandparents in Missouri. Do you know how fast you can get the people at Ace Hardware to bring you things??
;-)

SJ said...

I agree with Judy. That will work. If not, take a chance and buy what you like at the store. It's the best way to learn, right? There are also lots of great little greenhouses around here with plenty of helpful people. I'd be happy to give you some names of places in the area if you'd like. :) I'm also happy to lend a hand with all the digging and planting. (I don't really know much either, but I have been looking forward to having a house some day so that I could plant my own flowers.) I also might have some catalogues where you can order really cheap bulbs....

Kim said...

I'm a big fan of the gravel yard. Cement is good too.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your 1-800-Flowers Azalea, that company is usually pretty good about refunds, especially for things that die within a week. I've used it in the past for similar situations. See their satisfaction guarantee here.

Sandy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sandy said...

People in the stores are very helpful even if they are yankees. And trust me you dont have a black thumb I saw your window plant....im jealous my chia pet never look like that. I think I killed it in about a week and a half within getting it :D

ShoeGirl said...

I love the title of this blog. I wish I could be a housewife!

Rhett said...

shoe, we all wish we could be like stephanie! :)

stephanie... you don't have a black thumb. you can make plants live.

i have a fish-killing thumb... actually, i can't make a fish live more than 2 water changes... EVER and they all die of different things... it's weird... plants, i am getting better at though. i have a sick palm (dont get those - prone to aphids) but other than that, i have this advice.

inside - peace lillies are a no brainer... water once weekly. also rubber trees, and african violets.

outside (and up there probably a bit too early) do impaitients in the shade or morning sun. plant anything colorful... and a walk through the greenhouse will tell you what can grow up there.

don't prune much now. pruning is meant for the fall. wait! you can cut dead off now, but don't do any major shaping or pruning until after the first frost of the fall...

i need to start my planting... its starting to be warm (again) down here. i love it.

i miss you... how are the cats? no pics of them lately.