Neighbors flock to our yard, amazed at all that is up and green, and that most of it lived through the winter. I hesitate to tell them it was my laze that created such green fortune. But see, lazy and gardening! They are BFFs.
You can even drink while pursuing this activity! And grow things to put in your drinks!
These are not the kinds of things you should plop in your Pinot, but aren’t they gorg? These scarlet emperor beans grow themselves, and flash red flowers to woo you. I’m behind the eight ball on planting these guys, but here’s my secret to gardening: I don’t care. If they produce, I will be up to my nipples in beans; if not, well, I’ll just keep buying them from the store.
And here’s another neophyte gardening secret of mine. See that pole the beans will run up? Yes, well, it’s part of my collection. My horde-shit-till-you-can-use-it-in-the-garden collection. It is VERY handy, and N only complains about the piles of junk every once in a while. Let me show you how I’ve
used, nay, upcycled all this crap. Cause I’m nothing if not inventive.
On the far left you’ll see bamboo poles, which I took from another trellis I got for free at a garage sale. The netting was from a Bellingham fishing pier; my friend Karen and I dug until we found nets large enough to carry several pirates. The orange string holding together my architectural masterpiece? Bailing twine from the barn. The large Y wood pieces are branches from a tree my neighbor demolished last year, and yes, ladies and gents, the post on the far right is from a bed frame I found for free on the side of the road. On Orcas Island. In the rain. (See how the Volvo wagons might aid your gardening? Gotta have a wagon to bring home the free loot!)
There is so much lettuce coming up, going to seed, and popping up again (I guess I took succession planting to heart) that I am giving it away in bags to the neighbors. And it’s not just vegetables that I’ve hacked: turns out I can grow pretty things too! Check out the side bed N and I started last year:
In the back is our wedding pear tree, the little purples on the left are wallflowers, there’s artichoke, allium (the purple globes to the right) and a California poppy, lest I forget my roots. Plus, my laziness ensured that this glorious smelling sweet pea, April in Paris, returned. All I do is forget about this stuff–ignore the hell out of it–and it comes back the next year. (This method explains why I was not a good babysitter.)
And it’s okay if your significant other doesn’t love your “gardening aesthetic.” Pretend like you know what you’re doing. Like my two had-to-have, years-old purchases, both rusty white metal, N’s favorite.
See that baskety thing against the fence? Yes, I have carted that thing around to four houses. It spoke to me. It has fleur-de-lis on the top, what can I say? I have had to fight N at every full moon not to haul that beaut to Goodwill, and given his goodwill, we finally hung it last weekend (with left over copper wire from our wedding. See? Nothing in our garden is new!) Doesn’t it look like it belongs there? Like its found its always home? Sigh. And P.S.: if you look just between the playhouse and the tea kettle (what? you don’t have a tea kettle whirly gig in your backyard? Get on it!) you can see one of my stashes of stuff.) Just to make sure you get how really cheap my yard is, see all those plants in front of the playhouse? All donated to us! The picnic table? Constructed by N’s dad from his old water tank! The driftwood? Scoured from a beach! Free, free and free! Who needs Target when all this free stuff is begging for a home in my yard!
And N’s other long-time favorite piece of rusty metal? A Hungarian baby bath. Now herb garden! Who doesn’t want their thyme and nasturtiums straight out of a baby’s bath?
I love that asparagus to the right. I’ve only ever been patient enough for two things in my life:
N, who has made up for every bad date and heart-break of my life, and this damn asparagus patch, which I may get to nibble from when we have the first Hispanic or woman president. In the meantime, the trees flop and flail and make me giggle at their wooziness, as if they’ve had too much bourbon, and just had to lie down.
It’s funny how much joy a little bit of green brings to my life. I swear, somehow I am not a slave to all this. I weed (I don’t even know if I can call it that) once a month, and that’s with a beer in one hand. I water only when it’s hot for several days in a row, and my biggest challenge is harvesting the stuff before it goes to seed. Case in point: this little spot used to house a behemoth sized oil tank. In just two years, its rich with life: forget-me-nots, swiss chard, sage, hellebores and some other donated native stuff. Is it Sunset Magazine worthy? Not by a long shot. But it does make me smile. It flavors my dinner. It provides flowers for my home.
And when I get to cut conical lilac wands from our tree, and the house fills with their wafting scent, and I munch on a spinach and radish salad fresh from my yard, I can’t think of a greater way to spend a parcel of time.