Ground Covered

I am not thriving - not lamenting, or asking for sympathy, just stating the facts. I am almost dreading going to bed because trying to sleep has been a torturous exercise. I'm in pain. I am not loving my weight and I have zero inclination to exercise. I'm too hot everywhere all the time, even with AC and multiple fans. I am in that meme where you're riding a bike and the bike is on fire and everything is on fire because you're in hell. I am in the centre of a fiery triangle of grief, perimenopause and pandemic - feel more like a pentagram. I'm not a lover of summer weather at the best of times - right now it's making me feel even more claustrophobic. I want out of the heat and out of my skin and out of my life for a few seconds.

Oh well.

So gardening. How do you feel about gardening? I have a similar love/hate relationship dynamic going on with gardening to the one I have with air conditioning. Basically when we started lockdown I threw open our bedroom windows and left them open for two months. Sometimes I woke up with snowflakes on my reading chair. Matt slept in a hoodie. It was amazing. I absolutely hate when I have to start closing the windows because of air conditioning, I resist it as long as possible because I hate feeling sealed inside and not being able to get any fresh air.

And then gardening. I always start with such optimism. I will shovel, and weed, and be one with the earthy earth, and plunge my hands into the living dirt, and lovingly tend the flowers and herbs and vegetables!

Well fuck, you guys, I don't know WHAT THE FUCK I'm doing! I could read some books or watch some Youtube stuff, but I never think of that in time, and then it's the goddamned May 2-4 weekend and my mother is frowning disapprovingly at my empty front flower bed and I'm panic-buying shit without reading the information tags again. Full sun? Part sun? Annual? Perennial? Even worse, this year I was ordering stuff online, like THAT was ever going to go well. I keep fucking buying stuff that I think is just a pretty flower and Matt says uh, that's a shrub. And reading is supposed to be my thing, you guys, this is not really defensible.

Get a load of this action before I kill them, or myself trying to keep them alive

I bring it all home and plant everything taking the blind faith approach - here I will thrust you and here you will thrive, or not, whatever, I'm not invested, you can be replaced. How do you know how deep a hole to dig? I start digging and then trying to stick the root ball in and it's not deep enough, and then suddenly it's too deep, like obviously the roots have to be buried but the stems aren't supposed to be buried and WHAT ARE THE RULES?

I have gardening gloves because we have those giant evil goddamned nettle things that grow six feet while your back is turned and look like they could eat you and have four-inch long sharp spikes, but I hate the feel of gardening gloves, so I put them on and then take them off and do stuff and then put my dirty hands back in the gloves and then everything is black. Same with my sandals - dirt flies into them, or I take them off and put them back on, or I wander out with no shoes to do one thing and stay out. Also, I say I'm going out for half an hour to pull a few weeds and water and then I get in the groove and Matt has to come out and push me, bug-bitten and wild-haired and covered in mud and blood back into the house.

But that thing, where flowers look totally dead and you water them and fifteen minutes later they are standing up and all dewy and perfect-looking? That will never not be magical to me. I am a sucker for the stupid zombie flowers.

Matt planted seeds before he left for Thunder Bay - SEEDS. Cucumbers and pepper and lettuce. That was foolishly optimistic enough, considering our growing season. Then I realized that he was gone and I really needed to get the garden in, and with one practically useless arm I was going to have to ask for help, which I don't do that often and am bad at. I explained the situation to Eve and what an idiot I was not to have asked before, because she is a mini-OCD-me and when she weeds, she WEEDS. She did the front bed, and I planted it. She did part of the back bed, and I finished it and then planted. I said I might ask for some help for the herb bed the next day. She did it before I got up and, um, didn't realize that there were seeds planted and a couple of the centimetre-high green things weren't, strictly speaking weeds. Oops.

Can you see the Gerbera Daisies? This is the first year they lasted for more than two days without something eating them AND a couple of NEW flowers grew - usually I buy them thinking of them as cut flowers, once they're gone they're not coming back. On the other hand, I think that thing in the front on the right might be a begonia that is frying to a crisp in the son. Oops again.

I feel like I should have some inspirational message to end on - the earth putting forth new growth, nurturing new life, rebirth, blah blah. I got nothing. I wish I had some weed.


StephLove said…

I'm sorry about the pentagram.

I am having the worst gardening year. I can't get anything to grow from seed, including plants I've had pretty good success with in the past-- I have two little cucumber vines, no zinnias (unless that doesn't-quite-look-like-a-zinnia sprout thing in the zinnia pot is actually a zinnia) and one sunflower that's on the verge of death. I planted scores of each of those. Most didn't germinate, some seedlings were taken out by slugs, birds or squirrels kept getting into the sunflower pots, extracting the seeds and eating them, leaving the hulls on the patio table. And then the ones that did germinate and didn't get eaten just went into a holding pattern, didn't grow and then mysteriously perished.

The peas did okay, even though I planted them months after I should have. And the geraniums (new flower for me) are starting to bloom.
Ernie said…
Truly sorry to hear that this has been a tough time for you. I have had my ups and downs (mostly with Lad's struggles), but nothing like what you describe and I can't imagine.

I am a warm weather embracing type, so I love summer - but I will admit with age, I am less excited about HOT weather unless I can enjoy time at the pool. Hoping it actually opens July 3rd as planned. Not sure you read about my inflatable pool and the forest friend that invaded my space (fairly hilarious video clip, but I have been trying to get by with that until the actual pool opens. Coach is on my case to empty my pool fearing that it is ruining his deck. Sigh.

The inside of my house beckons me and I mostly ignore it, but that means that the outside of my house screams to me and still gets zero attention from me. I plant a handful of things that need full sun like inpatients in a few boxes that do not require me to actually get on the ground - dear Lord, why would I want to do that? They look cute and alive for most of the summer and that is good enough for me. If we were hosting a grad party for either grad, I would have cheated and gotten a few big planters of flowers from Costco for the deck but alas no grad party in sight.

I think your ending was perfect: I need weed. Well said.
Swistle said…
I had not realized how much my greatly-hated daily walk was helping my mental state until it got too hot and muggy ( = anything over about 62 degrees F) to do it anymore. We have a clunky, loud treadmill, and I've been using it, and my mood has been plummeting. I like the pentagram concept. That feels about right.
Well, you know how I feel about gardening, and summer. I love them both BUT I do wonder if I would feel differently if I lived in a different climate. I mean, Calgary summers are so short, and so cold. When we get a day above 21 degrees, it's like CELEBRATE MY GOD WE ARE HAVING SUMMER LIKE OTHER PEOPLE. It doesn't happen often. Our forecast for the next week is 18-20 degrees and thunderstorms/ rain daily. Whomp whomp. I like me some hot weather. Gerbera daisies are my favourite and we can't really grow them here, not well. All my plants are hail-hardy and frost-hardy. But! We bloom where we are planted, and so I will be satisfied with my non-gerbera plants. Love you.
Tudor said…
This - "I'm panic-buying shit without reading the information tags again. Full sun? Part sun? Annual? Perennial? Even worse, this year I was ordering stuff online, like THAT was ever going to go well. I keep fucking buying stuff that I think is just a pretty flower and Matt says uh, that's a shrub. And reading is supposed to be my thing, you guys, this is not really defensible" - is me. And I'm a detail person who makes lists and checks out the menus of restaurants before I visit so I'm not in an awkward position when I have to order.

It's been really weird lately realizing that my husband sees me as the gardening expert (we. are. in. trouble).

At any rate, this year, I went to Ritchie's in Richmond and I asked for help and oh my goodness. I actually came home with things I believe are going to grow in our backyard! It made planting so much more rewarding.

So, I completely recommend asking for help. Nobody even needs to know you did - you can still pass yourself off as a gardening expert when it all grows ;)
Busy Bee Suz said…
Gardening isn’t for everyone. Really. Don’t force it if you don’t enjoy, can you send Eve my way? I’d love a helper.
I get you on the heat, but I feel you are really taking a beating with peri menopause; it’s bad, but shouldn’t be brutal.
I hope things improve soon.
Lynn said…
Word to all of this. I am deep into perimenopause and I am just so freaking HOT all the time. Yesterday I kept turning down the air conditioning until everyone else was shivering, and I was still down in the basement fanning my armpits with video game instruction manuals. I am normally all about summer but right now I am wondering how much ice could fit in a bathtub and that can't be good.

And ditto to all gardening shit. I quarter-ass our gardens at best every year. I keep waiting for one of the children to develop a sudden passionate interest in gardening but so far, no go. I finally plowed under our vegetable garden this year because I just couldn't be bothered, and everything that died in the flower gardens last year continues to be a gaping hole of ennui. I blame the coronavirus. It can take all the blame for everything, right?

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