coping with my throw-in-the-trowel thoughts

BETWEEN SPRINKLER REPOSITIONINGS, I’M TAKING MY OWN ADVICE. I’m quieting my nerves by re-reading my 20-year-old essay written at just this time of year, when the garden always confounds me and seemingly just won’t cooperate. Are you having a throw-in-the-trowel moment over at your place, too?

Read the vintage essay, or just share your own pain right here in comments. You know how gardens are: They take us to the brink and then win our hearts back by magically rebounding, just as we’re about to mow them down or turn them under. Cheeky devils, aren’t they? Why didn’t I take up macrame or Bingo instead?

Off to move the vintage-kitchen-stool-turned-sprinkler-tower to another spot now…

  1. Carole says:

    I really tried to spread the mulch that I purchased hopefully in April. This job will just have to wait for a little rain. I too have plants that were purchased in hopes of clumping some lovely flowers…..still wating in their pots. TOO HOT, TOO HOT and too much guilt in watering!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Christine. You have my permission to toss any and all garden tools at the pests. :) To my mind, there are almost no deer-proof plants, so I have a giant fence around the whole yard. I gave up fighting with them years ago, when I had gotten to the point where I was actually screaming and tossing things (as if they even blinked).

      Welcome, Carole. Everything I watered yesterday is lying down today. Huh? Just too relentless our for me to even make a difference, I guess, but onward I trudge, dragging hoses behind me.

      See you both soon again, I hope.

  2. Candylei says:

    Hey, but you have to remember that summer is exactly what we dreamed of and yearned for all winter long….and since winter is so much longer than summer (usually) I am going to enjoy it. Even though every day is like a swedish sauna my health should be excellent and my garden should be just as healthy if I keep at it. I do have to water every day now, but I have very healthy new clematis seeds to plant and all of our boxwood is doing great!

    My only complaint is japanese beetles on the roses…..and grabbing their hairy legs and dropping them in a bucket of water.

  3. Annabelle says:

    Misery does indeed love company. I’m ready to throw in the towel, growing impatient for summer vegetables (only spinach, arugula, kale and snap peas so far) and for the bank account to recover enough to finish planting my flower/herb/shrub bed between the patio and vegetable garden. I’m 8 months pregnant and I cannot bend anymore to keep up with the weeds or successive planting. Just trying to keep my 2-year old from picking all the flowers herself and the 2-year-old visiting labrador away from my beds struggling to get established.

    If any tomatoes/raspberries/zucchini/beans/squash/pumpkins/cucumbers ripen I’ll have a harvest party for my friends who can still reach the ground. I’m in Denver, CO.

  4. been venting since April…have a bunny infestation stealing my time, energy , money and plants. In the words of Brun Hilda aka Elmer Fudd …..kill the wabbit. killl the wabbit, kill the rabbit!!! If only I could…sigh

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome Cheryl. Now how do you feel about that rabbit again? :) I have one, too, and it’s so hot out I can’t even deal with the Havahart routine. Someday…or maybe I’ll tell Jack the cat to get with it. See you soon again I hope.

  5. Frog Princess says:

    We had such a lovely, damp, cool June that I got entirely spoiled and this week’s 90+ degree weather has caused me to wilt and complain. All my grandiose plans for a vegetable garden went down the drain, and I’m left with just a dozen pots and hanging baskets which I water morning and night.
    Can I say that it is so nice to hear that others’ eyes were bigger than their wills when it came to putting plants in the ground? I have two six-packs of kale I haven’t planted and which seem unwilling to die. It’s going to be a battle between the heat and my guilt, I think–will I put it off long enough? Will their pitiful wilty bodies force my conscience to plug them into the ground?

  6. tetrarose says:

    Here in Oregon the summer drought is a yearly occurance, an oddity that gives us a “Mediterranean” season in what most folks assume is a lush and rainy climate. I also struggle with the dreamed-of borders that don’t play out quite as elegantly in reality as they did in my winter and spring fantasies; soil that drains like a loamy dream but doesn’t hold moisture, requiring loads (literally) of mulch; husbands with power tools cutting down my babies; and the multitudes of potted plants awaiting a taste of soil.

    I will confess to having certain plants in pots (black plastic, not nicer ones) for years, people– my ex was a nurseryman and we collected a lot of choice plants, many he left with me. I learned to feed and water them frequently, and keep them alive and doing well enough if not thriving in their limited environs. I had a lot of guilt at first but as time passed I planted for a few more every year. I recently put a lovely Japanese hornbeam in the ground and it was in a pot for 8 years! Yeah, crazy, I know! Some advice I can pass on: repot! It’s not as much work as you think, and it will relieve some of your guilt at not planting your green friends, as well as extending the time you have to find a place for it. And, learn to let the guilt go, the plants are not bad-vibing you!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Matti. Love your description — very funny. Yes, my old tag-sale stool is a key part of my watering gear here. Nice to “meet” you and do come say hi again soon.

      Welcome, Tertarose. Repotting is very good advice, and I always am ashamed when I go to do it to a plant and see a thick tangle of roots and little soil and realize what a stress I have been causing by skipping the step for to long a period. Nice to see you here and hope to again soon.

  7. lunar says:

    I love following your blog, I garden on the eastern end of long island. In looking at your slide show I noticed your stone patio( like mine) and I wondered, how do you keep the weeds and grasses from growing between the stones or do you have plantings there?

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Lunar. I weed! Using stone dust (versus soil) as the base for the pavers may make it a little less hospitable at first, but mostly it’s an ongoing job of weeding the most vulnerable cracks with a big old serrated kitchen knife a few times a season.

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