ON MY MIND: The not-so-constant gardener

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

Oh, how happy I was for a while.

I bought lots and lots of plants when spring began. My yard looked lovely. I was so proud. I hardly recognized myself. I had turned into a gardener, I thought. It was a new role for me, for sure.

I thought I had found the secret to gardening, which of course is, to buy more and more plants  I should have sensed doom, though, when the plants started to shake when I put them in my cart. Other people would put plants in their carts and the plants would quiver with joy. Mine quivered, for sure, but it was more of a “why me, Lord” kind of quiver. If I looked closely at their blooms, I saw fear. I ignored it. I think a few of them even screamed, “No, not with her.” I turned a deaf ear.

July 4 came and went. That is usually D Day for my garden. D meaning done or dead.

My daughter came for the holiday and said, “Wow, Mom, your garden is fabulous.  What’s up with that?It’s July 4th and everything is still beautiful.” I just basked in the praise and the blooms. I was enjoying my new life.

But, it didn’t last long. July 5 came and doomsday showed up. Turned out my garden was like my hair.

You have all experienced this. You know what I mean. Your hair looks so great. You can’t even believe it’s you. Then you wake up the next day and it looks all nasty and you realize you need a haircut fast, really fast. Your hair looks horrible.

Right after July 5, my lovely plants sprouted holes in their leaves. Blooms died. My neighbor walked by and said, “You need to dead head.” That’s never a good sign.

I meant to deadhead. I really did. I was just busy. I had good intentions, but I didn’t get very far with them. I would wake up early and go out and deadhead. It was sort of like that thing about if you have to swallow a frog, do it first and get it over with.

Looking back, I realize that the problem is that the people in the garden centers all lie. They say things like, “Oh, those plants are easy to grow.” Or, “They will last all summer, no problem.” I should immediately think, “Problemo, for sure.”

So, here I am again, nearing the end of July with a garden that is way lesser than it would be if I were a better woman. I tossed out some of the dead posies. I bought some new ones, but I don’t really love them. My zest to garden has pretty much left me. I am looking ahead to fall. Maybe I can excel with pumpkins.

Bottom line, let me give you some advice. Tuesday, July 30, One Book One County is offering a free garden tour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be fabulous.

The gardens chosen are breathtaking. I live right between two of them. As you pass my house, you will want to keep going.

The tour features beautiful, beautiful gardens. They will inspire you. These gardeners have really got a secret.  I don’t know what it is, but I know I don’t got it. They do some sort of magic, a magical blend of hard work, sweat, watering, fertilizing, deadheading and on and on and on. They love gardening. I guess that’s their biggest secret of all.

Enjoy the tour. Take friends and have a great summer day. These are the gardens to visit. They are all located in Greenville.

• Carole & Gene Weeks, 977 E. Baldwin Lake Drive

• Marilyn & Roy Ferguson,1161 E. Baldwin Lake Drive

• Julie & Don Momber, 9787 W. Baker Road

• Diana Jones, 10546 Wildwood

• Flat River Historical Museum, 213 N. Franklin

 Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address is maureenburns@maureenburns.com.

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