Sunday, April 22

A Different Kind of Tired and Achey This Spring

I'm not saying that it was a bad idea to work part-time at a local garden center this spring. After all, I really need to save up money to put in a fence this year. And I get a discount. And I am allowed to set aside plants and anything else I want in a "holds" area so I can buy them next time I work.

As a bonus, I get to talk to other gardeners and pick their brains. Yesterday I spoke with a lovely young man in his 70's (yes, that's what I meant to say--he had a very youthful spirit) for almost half an hour on designing with hostas. Today I met a guy who grew squash vines across his lawn just for the foliage. (He picked up the squash and moved it every time he mowed.) How fun is that?

But on gorgeous weekends like these, I miss spending time in my own garden. I hurried home today to get some pictures of the goings-on that are going on without me. The 'White Emporer' tulips are blooming. Cherry, pear and apple trees all have flower buds, and perennials like ligularia are popping up out of the ground.

All is not clean and beautiful spring in my yard, however. Beds need to be mulched, the purple ninebark and the 'Northstar' dwarf cherry need to switch positions. Several dozen other undone chores also greet my eyes when I pull into the driveway with my legs aching and my face dusty. It makes my heart sink, at least momentarily.

And then I happen upon the 'Jack Frost' brunnera, blooming its heart out in the slanting rays of the setting sun. And I finally figure out that the little spears of green coming up in two different places must be the red Asiatic lilies that I rescued from work. I had moved them once after the intial planting because I was afraid that they were struggling in too much sun, and they promptly died back entirely. Now, they are coming up in both places.

Best of all, I was pulling a few weeds yesterday when a bright spear of yellow foliage caught my eye. "No way," I thought, even as I dug steadily and carefully around it. Sure enough, I unearthed a piece of iris rhizome from about 5 inches down. I carefully replanted it at a more appropriate depth and then went inside to put up my tired feet, happy that I will not have to beg more variegated iris from my grandmother this year.

It's a lot easier to ignore the ugly when your garden gives you beautiful little gifts like these.


kris said...

Hi - great flowers. I hope you get some garden time - in your own garden!!! - very soon. Is the first photo bergenia? I'm trying to decide if I want to even keep mine - it looks really cool when I first uncover it in the spring - and then totally scraggly about now. Does yours do that - or just mine?? I like the little bloom spears - but the leaves are ugly right now.

Ki said...

Beautiful gifts indeed! It's a bad idea to try to earn money by working at a garden center. All the money you earn will be spent on plants and gardening needs. ;)

Anonymous said...

You know, you are on track and doing fine. I'm sure you are tired and pressed for time. I'm sure all the work sucks a bit. But you are doing the right thing.

Whenever I need something and can't afford it, I do without, work harder and save until I can afford it. And then when I get it, it is better. I mention this because I was married to a (really lovely in so many ways actually) lady who didn't work but wanted everything in the world... NOW. Cars. Houses. Trips. Jewelry. Coats.


I spent a decade working financial miracles and exhausting myself... and slowly liquidating beloved pre-marriage assets. Boats. Antique cars. Watches. And of course, this kind of thing is indicative of larger problems (for both of us I suppose) and so nothing was ever enough. Very sad.

That's all over now... and I'm actually delighted at how "comparatively" easy life has become. Simple house. Simple cars. (Relatively) simple bills. But a little lonesome.

Anyway, I mention all this because when I read that you, a young woman, want something like a fence and get a second job to make it happen, it restores my faith a bit. It makes me think that maybe, someday, I'll meet gardening partner who is magical but also reasonable and realistic. Thank you.

Work is good. Work is part of life. And when we are working, we typically aren't spending (beware of that discount!).

Good for you. If I lived in Ohio, I come over and build you a fence. Instead, I'll just say thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I'd help Hank. I'm good with the dumb end of the tape measure.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Oh how I love varigated iris. Oh how I'd love to work at a garden centre. I know what you mean about listing in your head all the undone chores. It keeps me up at night...

growingagardenindavis said...

And sometimes a blog gives you a beautiful little gift also. Thank you for your story. It's a real blessing that you can recognize the gifts in your life and I'm proud of you for working for what you need. I'd help with the fence, too, if I was a little closer. The best thing I've learned (repeatedly) through gardening is patience. You earned the iris!

A wildlife gardener said...

My hubbie tells everyone that Garden Centres are my sweetie shops! it's a good job I don't work there...glad you got time in yours though.

Colleen Vanderlinden said...

You'd have another fence-helper in me, Kim :-) Between Hank, Craig, Leslie, and I, we'd have that fence up in no time, and plenty of time left over to enjoy your garden (although, I can imagine that the enjoyment of the garden would come first....)

Here's hoping you get more time in your garden, and plenty more garden gifts :-)

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

A gardeners job is never done, no matter how much time we have.

I'm glad that you can enjoy what is there and appreciate all the little and not so little gifts your garden gives you.

As soon as you have the time, you will do the jobs that need to be done in your garden. In the meantime enjoy your job at the garden center and the money and perks you get from it. And have sweet dreams about your fence to be!


Kylee Baumle said...

Kim, that's exactly how I'm feeling today, except that what's keeping me from doing all I want and need to do is my body. I won't even mention that 'thing' I have, because you already know, but darn it, this weather that we've been waiting for so long is now here and there's SO much to do! Some things are ideal to be doing now, but there's only so much time and energy to do it.

You'll get there!!

And congrats on the little surprises! I'm finding some of those as well. My bergenia is going to bloom this year! It's got buds right now. :-)

And I think all but one of my hostas have made it through the winter, and I haven't given up on that one, yet. This is a very good thing, because I planted several minis last summer. Tough little things, they are!

MrBrownThumb said...

Nice Tulips. I'm waiting on mine to bloom now. Should be one or two days before they put on a show.

Christopher C. NC said...

"It is important to know is that beauty can exist side by side with trash."

Now you know what I feel like on any given day after work. My garden is the last one to receive attention which may have something to do with the fact that you rarely see pictures of my garden as a landscape or in whole.

I do lots of closeups, finding joy in the small things of which I have perhaps too many.

Stuart said...

Sounds like one seemingly contented gardener, Kim. I can empathise with your frustration of missing out on gardening in your garden.

Life just gets too busy sometimes but how good is that we can still stop in our gardens and smell the...well, whatever's blooming, I guess.

lisa said...

Yea, hang in there, Kim! I get frustrated too, then I remind myself that my garden can manage without me pretty well whenever necessary. Just keep your eye on the prize, and enjoy those little gifts! :)

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Ain't life grand. I have a 'Jack Frost' and love the little bugger.

Unknown said...

Kris, thank you. You are correct about that being a bergenia--and I am learning that all bergenias are not created equal. This one, 'Bressingham Ruby,' just requires a little removal of the odd crispy leaf near the ground now and then. My regular bergenia cordifolia look absolutely terrible right now, though. :(

Ki, lol, I thought about that! I gave myself permission to buy the annuals I would buy for my urn and other containers, and the handful of herbs I always get as well. Other than that, I am not "allowed" to buy more plants until after I have the cost of the fence materials saved.

Hank, I read your comment the first night I posted this, and I admit I got a little choked up by your sweet offer. (Must have been the tiredness... I swear I'm not a crier!) I hardly feel fit to restore anyone's faith in anything, but I must say that I'm very honored if I could do that for you. I know something of what you speak re: the combination of simple relief and loneliness post-divorce. And also of having different ideas of "value" and "worth" than a loved one. Not exactly what you feel, of course--nobody ever has the exact same feelings or experiences--but enough to empathize. And I'll cut myself off there before I'm still overly tired today and am likely to ramble even more if I let myself...

Craig, you choked me up a little, too. You guys are a whole lot of alright. But I have to say that the dumb end of the tape measure has always been my territory. :)

ottawa gardener, that's the only good thing... except for one night when I was too tired to sleep (literally) I normally fall asleep now as soon as my head hits the pillow. That never happens for me!

Leslie, thank you for the offer as well! I do think that the brunnera flowers were a not-so-subtle message that I should appreciate the gifts.

wildlife gardener, those are your "sweetie shops," eh? *grin* How cute!

colleen, thank you. You know, it's just a 4-hour drive for you... and I know you already have expertise in setting fence poles and putting up trellis panels... ;)

yolanda elizabet, those are all wonderful points. I would appreciate the time to make some elderflower champagne like you do, though! *grin*

kylee, argh... what a bad time for you to be feeling poorly. Glad to hear about your bergenia. My "icky" ones appear ready to bloom, but the "good" ones aren't even thinking about it yet!

mrbrownthumb, do you find that your plants bloom later because of lake effect, too? (I wonder whether you are close enough to Lake Michigan for that to have an effect or just have late-season tulips.)

christopher, yet another similarity. *smile* I don't think that there can be such a thing as "too many" small things, if they do truly give you joy...

Stu, very true. I need to add some more fragrance in the garden, now that you mention it. You know, to give me an excuse to stop...

lisa, you're definitely right about the garden being able to carry on without me for a little while. I just miss the little things, the day to day comparison, you know? You know. :)

Unknown said...

digital flower pictures, thanks for stopping by. I admit that I wasn't expecting 'Jack" to steal my heart... but he really did!

Annie in Austin said...

Sorry I'm late at reading this wonderful story, and don't think I'd be much help with the construction, but I could bring the cookies, Kim. I love this post.


Anonymous said...

I worked in a garden center for years, and loved it. My goal is to some day have one of my own. Thanks to the comment about the cactus, I wish more people appreciated the wait for that perfect bloom, and were willing to try raising a cactus themselves. The anticipation, and waiting to see how many blooms you will get this year, is all part of the fun.

Kristin Ohlson said...

Nice post, Kim! Plus your photos look so lovely against that black background. Proving once again that everything looks better in a little black dress.

I was so discouraged by what I was seeing in my garden after the weirdly capricious spring-- was sure everything had been knocked off. And some things have been. But now I'm noticing that some things that I despaired over only a few days ago are showing signs of life-- now, that's a gift.

David (Snappy) said...

I love the Jack Frost Brunnera, thats on my wishlist now for my future garden.I saw some at nurserys here.I guess you have to be productive with your time, and sneak into your own garden when you have half a chance :)

Gotta Garden said...

Am I last??! Ah, Kim...beautifully written, as always. Good for you, as others have said, that you are working to make something you want happen...much too easy to use credit these days and much harder to delay gratification. I worked for two years in a garden center so I know of what you speak. It was very hard to find time for my own garden, but as Lisa said, it did manage. I also think it made me appreciate and notice what the garden gave me...and it did give as I had so little energy left to put into it. Fortunately, I now have more time, but you know how it is...there are always more things to do than you have time for in the garden, even without the extra job!

So, hang in there...I just know you are delighting the customers and that they appreciate you. Put your aching feet take care.

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