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In the Weeds

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that at age 42 I know next to nothing about gardening. And it's not like I live in the city. I've lived in a home with a lawn and gardens for the better part of my adult life but failed to develop my green thumb. Up until eight months ago, our house was (drink) on the same property as our business, which was an inn. There are about a million hats to wear as innkeepers so you really have to limit the jobs you take on to those you do best. Outsource the rest. Gardening fell into the outsourcing category. And by outsourcing, I mean we hired my mother-in-law who once mentioned she had always wanted to be a gardener. We paid her in scones. She's not so quick to profess missed career opportunities any more. In all seriousness, she (drink) did an outstanding job, and with just the help of one seasonal groundsman, won awards and attention from garden clubs for her (our) beautifully manicured grounds.

Guests would ask questions about the amount of sun exposure certain flowers required or the species of shrubbery surrounding the front walk way. I never had the answers and felt a little foolish seeing as I owned the property. When we sold the inn and moved to our very own place, finally, without work right in our back yard, James couldn't wait for spring to start a vegetable garden and buy a lawn mower. Come April, he was ordering all sorts of crops (curbside) and spending a lot of time on Google learning the ins and outs of cultivating and edible garden.

I had no interest and let him roll with it. But then the vegetable garden started to come to life and I had a home-grown jalapeno in my Zippy and something in me shifted. Then the eggplants (drink) started growing and the zucchini plants got flowers. Blueberries suddenly materialized and the zucchini flowers produced actual fruit! I decided to make myself useful and water them every once in awhile. Then I noticed some dead leaves so I did a little pruning or deadheading. Or whatever it's called.

It was the sunflower, though that was the real turning point. James scored a beautiful potted one from Stop and Shop for $5 and I took it under my wing. When it looked droopy, I watered it. And plucked out the dead bits. And moved it into the sun when the shade shifted. It started to thrive and more blooms developed. Maybe I liked gardening!

And then I started to weed. That was a mistake. You know how often I get interrupted when I attempt to write a blog post, so you can imagine that finding an undisturbed stretch of time to tackle the project of weeding (shouldn’t it be de-weeding?) an entire path is next to impossible. It took four days to complete the project and when I did, boy was I proud. Weeding (drink) is tough work. It reminds me of eating shrimp with the tails on. You've got to suck it out just right to pull the shrimp in its entirety from the tail. If you fail, you leave a little nibble behind which takes a lot of not-so-graceful effort to get out. Pulling a weed, root and all, is much like breaking the shrimp free from its tail shell. Super satisfying!

The problem with weeding (de-weeding) is that it never ends. And I never noticed the vast amounts of them randomly poking up through cracks in the driveway, gaps in bricks; they even work their way through pebble fill and between rocks. It's no secret that I'm a little OCD - the last thing I need is another reason to enlist in a 12 step program. But once I start something, I have a hard time putting on the breaks so it looks like the remainder of my summer weeks will involve plotting against the little suckers and destroying them from the root up.

Another problem with my unexpected new hobby is garden envy. I've noticed a marked uptick in the number of Facebook posts (drink) highlighting gardening victories. This, in my estimation, is a result of two contributing factors, both of which are directly correlated to the pandemic: 1) People have more free time, and 2) People are having epiphanies about the direction their lives are taking and spending time in the garden is a great way to clear your head. There's something about getting dirt under your nails that feels emphatically right. Anyway, the gardening showboating is making me admittedly jealous. So between my OCD tendencies and competitive nature, I've managed to turn, what should be a relaxing hobby into a compulsive obsession. Nice job, Jill.

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