Recommended wine for today’s entry: How about a Montes Cherub Rose of Syrah, a Chilean wine that, while pink, isn’t like the boxed wine you drank to excess when your relatives visited because it was in a box and no one could tell how much you were downing. This is on the dry side and “very refreshing, perfect as an apertif, …” as described by Stacy Slinkard at http://wine.about.com/od/redwinerecommendations/tp/Ros–Wine-Top-Picks.htm. And it will be pretty as you sit amongst your zinnias.
Gardening is stupid. Now, before you get your dander up, I’m not saying that gardenERS are stupid, just the act of gardenING. Very different. I am lucky in that my husband likes to — OK, is the only one willing to — do the gardening at our house.
Now, I do have my garden chores. I buy flowers that I like and I bring them home for my husband to plant. I also replaced the thingie that looks like a snake tongue that he lost due to his inability to take care of his toys. Also, and this is big — I water ALL the plants on weekdays. That includes the vegetable garden where a large snake with a really mean face resided all last summer. Did my husband think that was cause for concern? Absolutely not. Just sent me right in there, no matter how many times I showed him patterns of two puncture wounds on my lower legs.
Also, until this year he refused to buy a decent hose caddy, instead opting for the cheap plastic ones that not only look like crap but also work like crap. I would have to stand on it with one foot and haul the hose to it with one hand while cranking like I was making ice cream with the other. And at the end, did I have ice cream to reward me for my effort? No. In fact, the only thing that happened at the conclusion of this tedious chore was that the hose inevitably flipped a stream of leftover water in my face as the end wrapped around the coil. Oh, and on at least three occasions it smacked me in the teeth with its cold metal nozzle.
Here is another of my tips for newlyweds: As soon as you have a house, offer to help with the weeding. Pull up all his daylilies, than act contrite. Even tearful. You’ll never have to weed again.
Actually, a few weeks ago I did decide (after 26 years of marriage) to do some more weeding. My new arbor area was desperately in need of it and I had a friend coming over for cocktails. So I went out there and attacked the wild garlic with a vengeance. Those insidious little creatures look so delicate from above the Earth’s surface, but underneath, they not only have a ginormous bulb, but the bulb has scattered its spawn all over, buried deep under your garden. Anyway, after about ten minutes, teeth gritted, I threw all my weight into hoisting a particularly resistant one and, like the jerk that it was, it broke and sent me flying backward, landing me with a thump, hard, on top of the wisteria that we’d been babying for eight months — the one that was designated to cover the new arbor. Broke right at the ground. I tried to tape it back together but my husband went out and put it out of its misery. Stupid garlic stuff. And now that I think about it, I might have been using the snake-tongue thingie that subsequently turned up missing … oh, well, water under the bridge.
I do like to dead-head. For those of you who don’t know gardening lingo like I do, that means to pull off the expired flowers and throw them over the wall onto your husband’s rose bushes. I find it cleansing. The spent blooms are ugly and depressing. Oh, and just a hint to the newbies — soon-to-bloom wave petunias and already-spent wave petunias look almost exactly the same.
Another cleansing garden chore, one that is particularly effective after a fight with your children and/or spouse, is purging the garden of Japanese beetles. Those little shits ate about half of my prized weeping cherry tree last year, before I got aggressive. My daughter’s friend Kees prefers to pinch them dead, which was really gross before we made him wear gloves. Me, I like to take a big vessel, like one of my husband’s plastic University of Louisville beer cups, fill it with soapy water and flick them in there. They can’t crawl out because they’re covered in a slippery film and eventually they go to beetle heaven. And no, I in no way think that this is contrary to my vegetarian’s stand on animals. These critters have no redeeming qualities.
So, if you’re like me and you don’t like to squat, sweat, get dirt under your nails, see the guts of a worm you just sliced through or really help out very much, you can still have a lovely garden. Just marry a gardener.
Oh, and you might want to make a note to yourself not to drink out of our plastic U of L cups.