Monday, May 3, 2010

The shopping cart

Damn you, internet. Damn you for forcing me to confront one of my secret obsessions-hobbies-"issues":  the online shopping cart in spring time. Anyone who is an avid gardener can empathize with the heart-wrenching pangs that the spring garden catalog induces in one. It is lethal.  It is cruel. And for the past decade or so, it has been online.  

I love springtime so much that at the age of ten, I wrote a poem about it.  And drew illustrations with pastels of flowers, tree branches, robins' nests (the latter has a prominent, if somewhat overly saccharine role in the poem).  I love it so much that I confess to being one of those annoying individuals who exclaims at every lavender sunrise, every weeping cherry, every new sign of life in my garden.  Hyperbole, you've met your maker.  And she happens to love to garden.

Now that I once again have my own garden, I devote a sizable portion of my mental energy to thinking about it.  It is a living, breathing thing, my garden - and I can easily lose at least 20 minutes of a morning staring at a single euphorbia and wondering if it shouldn't be a little to the left. And oh look!  It has another set of bracts! How brilliant. I  should have ordered a few more...and I need something blue (caryopteris? baptisia?) to off-set the lime green...and crikey, there's that spot there that practically weeps for a mock orange.  Should it be a double or single blossom?  And if I get a mock orange, maybe I should just throw in some of those gorgeous near-black pansies edged in white...

(When I was in first grade, my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Boardley, had a teacher's aid stand by my desk and tap on my shoulder when I daydreamed out the window. I'm just saying: I come by this naturally)

There is much left to be done in my garden, and the spring of 2010 is devoted to the front beds.  Easy-peasy, one might think. But I've done a half a dozen variations of what the front beds (which now, on May 2nd, boast a rampant case of morning glory and very little else) should look like.  I have performance anxiety when it comes to the front beds. Plain and simple.  After all, they are the first things one greets when approaching our house.  Do I go all architectural?  Colorful? English cottage garden? Japanese Zen?  Monochrome?  


To date, I have roughly $2300 of plants in different "carts" - none of which, mind you, are a) the perfect front bed combo, b) affordable, and c) thus, not so much a reality. Fortunately, I collect seeds from my plants each year.  And I love to divide iris. And 
the unthinkable happened: I found a kind of hosta that I actually like and it happens to have really taken a liking to my garden.  So the front beds will be cobbled together with pieces of what is already here - a generative process, actually.  Which in its own way, is much more satisfying than the shopping cart.


  1. augh spring's back and she's back.

  2. I followed you faithfully through your silence. It's nice to hear you again. All as enchanting as ever, and redolent of the time I spend checking the garden every morning when I feed the birds. The bit I liked best, though, was 'dreaming out the window.' My opinion is that schools should encourage kids to dream, not tap them on the shoulder. The dreamers are the ones who engage with life beyond the tram lines.

  3. Oh my goodness, so I'm not alone in my gardening indecision/paralysis! This must be a gene we share. I could get lost for hours in a greenhouse...