Painting My Thumb Green

If painting my thumb green would help, I’d do it. Every year I go through the same routine and since Spring has sprung, here we go again. Yesterday I went to buy groceries – mind you, groceries – at WalMart. The first mistake was parking near the garden center and going through that entrance. Then things got crazy. I saw some red impatiens and immediately thought how beautiful they would be around a tree in the back yard. Never mind that the ground is hard clay and some old azalea roots surround the tree – I still envisioned beauty. Knowing some garden soil would be necessary I beat it back out in the parking lot where all the dirt bags (literally) were stacked. Seeing the difference in price between the 1 cubic bag and the 2 cubic bag I could not resist buying the huge bag which provided “more for your money.” Two bags should be enough to cover the area around the tree. Of course I was beginning to wonder if we would need to provide some edging or pavers to keep the good soil contained, but decided that was just an unnecessary detail for me to worry about – I’d just ask JB to take care of that.

that was just an unnecessary detail ….

The hanging ferns on display were beautiful so one went into my buggy. (Poor fern – it has never taken long for one to become brownish and straggly under my care.) Then I spotted the vegetables. Although I’ve never had good luck with tomatoes, I do love to eat them, so I bought three healthy looking plants and decided to trying planting them in pots this year. That meant I needed potting soil. Same pricing on the potting soil led me to choose the huge bag and it seemed best to go on and buy two bags since I will probably plant lots of flowers in pots also. Becoming more optimistic by the minute, I even bought stakes, assuming the tomato plants will grow tall and healthy and need support. Some healthy cilantro made its way into my buggy and I thought how nice it will be to just go outside and pick cilantro every week rather than buy it at the store.

By this time I realized there would be no room for groceries in my cart or in my car, so I paid and tried to load my purchases. That’s when I starting thinking about my terrible back trouble two years ago. At that time I swore I would never do ANYTHING to risk throwing it out again. BUSTED! Getting two huge bags of dirt in the trunk was hard – I’m sure it would have made a great awkward WalMart parking lot video. Even harder was loading the other two enormous bags of potting soil in the back seat, around the flowers and vegetables in trays. Of course on the drive home, even though driving very carefully, at one slow stop for a red light I heard the bag slipping and down it plunked onto the tray of vegetable plants. Just my luck — grrrr.

We need a wheelbarrow.

I’ll spare you the details, but getting all of this out of the car and to the back yard and back deck was another ordeal. Our next purchase needs to be a wheelbarrow.

So here’s the update today. The tomato plants are in the pots and positioned to get the most sun. The stakes are in the garage, ready to be put in place once the MiracleGro potting soil does its magic and grows them tall and strong. The cilantro is potted and I sure hope it flourishes – we use it all the time! The hanging basket fern is beautiful — for now!

I placed the bags of garden soil near the tree and asked JB what he thinks. Of course I just want to dump the soil around the tree and plant the red flowers and hope for the best. He assures me the new dirt (and my flowers) will just wash away with the first good rain. But due to his allergies and everything completely yellow with pollen in the back yard, he doesn’t even want to go out there to help figure out what must be added to hold the good soil in place. Oh good grief! Gardening is hard work and sometimes complicated. I may have to find another shady place to plant my impatiens.

Gardening is hard work … and complicated.

Did I mention the next trauma to prepare for in my gardening experience? We have rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels that chew off many plants down to the roots – hydrangeas, pansies, other flowers, etc. One night JB took a picture of three deer in our front yard eating my pansies! The little animals even get up into the pots to do their damage. A liberal amount of red pepper on each plant sometimes keeps them away. What a nuisance and after all my hard work.

Back to WalMart!

Just in case you are interested, I did have to return to WalMart to get the things on my original list. I was exhausted at the end of the day and had to take Advil for all my aches and pains – no serious back problems though – PTL.  A few things I plan to remember as I go forward with my gardening:

  • Do Not – repeat – Do Not EVER buy the big bags of dirt again. A few dollars more per bag is much cheaper than potential hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, chiropractor visits, etc.
  • Do not buy things to plant in areas that are not prepared. (I’m still trying to figure out where to put those impatiens….)
  • Do not buy more than you are able to plant right away. I learned this lesson a few years ago when I bought 12 big flats of flowers to plant in my yard. What was I thinking? It took me forever to plant them all.
  • When you get to be my age, hire someone to make your yard look pretty unless you really know what you are doing and are very, very strong. Save for yourself just a few pots to plant on the back deck. In other words, know your limits.

If the above mentioned plants do well in the next few weeks and months I may give you an update or even pictures. In the meanwhile, here’s hoping you make your own wonderful memories watching things grow.

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