Eiden: I'm understanding a few things better

I’m understanding a few things better as time goes by. It takes longer for me because I’m a little hardheaded. If we surveyed my kids, they’d say, “A little?!” We’ll leave them out of this. I’ll admit, I’m a wee bit stubborn, but I can be taught. Usually. Sometimes. Maybe.

When spring rolls around next year, I’m going to be a better bedding plant buyer than I was this year. The thing is, I’m thrifty, and I hate to pass up a deal. It’s probably a character flaw, but when something sounds great, I get googly eyed. Honestly, when making decisions, I should probably just ask a grown up because if there’s a catch, I’m too dopey to know the difference.

Here’s what I’ve learned this summer, and hopefully for the last time. I should never say, “Okay” in June, to a sweet, elderly lady who’s offering me flats of flowers at half price. She knew a sucker when she saw one and quickly came to my advancement in the “be as dumb as ever department.” She noticed what plants I was scrutinizing and guided me to others that were “similar.” With a lilt in her voice, she said, “These will be just what you need, and don’t worry about how they look, they’ve been nipped by frost a tiny bit but they’ll be right as rain after you put them in the ground.” In my defense, she had me under her spell with cut-rate plants and I was hoodwinked. She patted my arm and quipped, “Really, they’ll make a remarkable recovery with very little effort at all.” She was a wrinkled, yet stylish little thing with coiffed white hair and a kind smile, but she was a fabricating trickster. Those flowers, which actually didn’t look too dreadful the first week, pretended to be lifeless forever after. I kept thinking they’d rally, but that was my mistake – thinking, which we know I’m not very good at. I ended up spending the summer ignoring my nice gardens, as I endeavored to raise the dead, giving mouth to mouth to these pathetic, ungrateful bedding plants to no avail. Next spring, while at a nursery, I won’t be so gullible. When I’m compelled to grow something and someone mentions plants in need of tender loving care, but they appear deceased, I’ll assume that’s the facts. Moral of the story: Trena, don’t be a hero, you’re obviously not very good at it.

I recently read an article stating, “August is the time to head out to your garden and tackle goals to make certain your plants will remain healthy, and transition to fall gardening. As I read, I developed a twitch in my right eye. I don’t want to garden in the fall. I want to sit in a rocker. This person wanted me to build a hoop structure to put over my plants when it started to frost, in order to drag out the inevitable dying of the flowers. She didn’t actually say it quite like that. She said, “To protect your plants and prolong your beautiful garden,” but I know what happens when it gets cold in the fall, and I’m ready for it. Ready, I tell you. By late August/early September, I’m sick of flowers and the yard and mowing and raking and watering and weeding and deadheading and fertilizing and trimming and pretty much whatever I should do that I may or may not have. I didn’t build a hoop structure.

We recently had a chilly, drenching rainstorm and I watched as my neighbor raced out and took down her hanging baskets from the porch. Later, I asked if she was fearful of them freezing, but she shook her head. “I don’t like them getting saturated because too much water is just not good for them.” I nodded, then attempted a weak smile, as if I understood. What I understood was, my hanging baskets were drowning, but it’s so late in the season that I don’t care too much. If something wants to die in the fall, I remind myself that mercy’s not my gift. If I can’t raise the dead in the spring, it’s not a stretch to imagine I won’t attempt it in the fall. It’s freeing to simplify. Try it. Start by ridding yourself of anything not willing to make it on its own effort. Children and husbands are not counted in. Sorry.

Also, a wise person once said, “A chrysanthemum by any other name…would be easier to spell.”

Trena Eiden            [email protected]