Monday, April 7, 2008

My journey for self-discovery had to begin with dirt under my nails

After revealing my pathetically, neglected backyard yesterday, I realized I need to spur into action. I've never had my own yard. I've lived in apartments for EVER. I don't know how to weed or plant or do anything. These are all excuses. Excuses designed to keep me from actually doing something. I am my own worse enemy.

I decided I needed to change this self-deprecating behavior and take charge. Be the person I want to be, not the person I've become. This sounds so silly, so easy. Why is change so hard for me? I don't know, and I'm certainly not going to find the answer today. So, I'll share with you what I did learn. I decided to do something to begin change...a brave step for me with all my insecurities.

First off, I bought bird seed for my poor empty bird feeder. It may take a couple of days for the birds to find it (and the squirrel) but it's now ready for them! Come, little birdies, come and be fed.

Do you have any idea how many different kinds of bird seed there are out there? I sat and stared at the bags in Home Depot. Should I choose the songbird variety pack? Or the comprehensive southwestern region bag? Maybe I need to run home to the Internet to research the best kind. Or call my mom. Or ask a salesperson. I had to battle my indecisiveness and just pick one.

I then wandered over to the nursery department. It was packed. I knew I wanted marigolds for the project I had in mind. My mom told me something along the lines of "Marigolds are easy to grow, bloom reliably all summer, and have few insect and disease problems." What I heard was, "These are hard to kill." That's all it took, I'm sold on 'em! This part was relatively easy. I was so proud of myself as I loaded orange and yellow marigolds into my car and took them home.


I then grabbed Sweet Annie, my cell phone, and my camera and headed to the front yard, which really looks decent, just needed some color. We have a yard service that comes weekly to mow and stuff, something we set up with our landlord, because the home owner's association around here is rather nazi-like in yard appearances. Here is what the flower bed looked like before I got to work...lots of weeds. (I tied Annie's leash around the tree so she could hang with me.)


I called my mom. "I just pull all of this stuff out, right?" Silly question. Why do I doubt my instincts? What am I scared I'm going to mess up? I take some pictures first. Then, I pull...and pull...and pull, for an hour or so...it felt like all day. See my weed piles around the flower bed? Nice, rich dirt, ready for planting. I found a zillion doodle bugs (some people call them pill bugs or roly-polys). I think that means you have good dirt, but I'm not sure. I take more pictures.


I then called my mom again, "How far apart do I plant them? How deep in?" "Rhea, read the info that came with them." Oh, right. Big, deep breath...I can do this. Gotta take some more pictures before I start. My younger son, Remy, shows up at this point to help dig. He likes this part a lot. We plant...then put the wood chips back on top. Ta da!


Then I have to repeat all the steps above for the next tree bed. My hands are sore by the time I'm done. It feels good though. I'm doing something I've never done before in my own yard. I'm using my hands. I'm one with nature. I'm making my yard prettier. I had some neighbors drive by and commpliment me. This feels good. I need to take some more pictures.


I'm so happy with the end result. Why do I fight myself so much? Why is everything so hard? I want to learn more about gardening, so I don't have to call my mom every five minutes with a question. When will I turn into the person others come to for questions? I know it's little and it's slow, but I'm going to turn into the person I want to be...eventually.

23 comments:

Marie said...

As someone who can only manage to keep cacti live I'm super impressed with the marigoldness.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step....or in this case the first marigold ;)

Well done!

xMx

Burfica said...

very nicely done. We will be starting all new when we get to our new lot (used to be my moms) but everything she had died, which depresses me.

Valarie said...

I weeded yesterday also. I then took notice to all the plants that were dead, that were supposed to come back this year. Yay Me :\ Lets go buy more plants.

Rhea said...

Marie - Thanks! You're right. I'm taking it one Marigold at a time. I've never tried a cactus.

Burfica - I'm so sorry all your mom's plantings died. :o( You can have a rebirth of sorts. What a wonderful way to honor her.

Valarie - I'm suspicious of those plants that are supposed to return...I'll believe it when I see it. Buying more plants sounds like a lot of fun! Do you color coordinate?

April said...

It looks SO pretty! Don't doubt yourself...you did great! :-)

Jeff B said...

Good for you! It looks like you made great progress in just one day. I will now have to retract my "angel of death" comment.

Bwahaha

Irene said...

Very nice! Marigolds are really hardy plants and another plus is that they will attract butterflies! :)

Rhea said...

April - Thanks! Doubt is so automatic for me. I'm trying to change though.

Jeff - Thanks for retracting your angel of death comment. I have a temporary reprieve. I need to get started on the backyard now...I did scoop up a small garbage bag full of gigantuous, lab poop today! Our sweet Annie is no little girl when it comes to her BMs. lol

Irene - I didn't know the marigolds attracted butterflies! YAY! Very exciting. I did see a white one in the yard today. Oh, goody. I sense some butterfly pictures coming soon to a blog near you.

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and commenting!

the mama bird diaries said...

Wow! you go girl! can you come freshen up our balcony?

Rhea said...

Mama Bird Diaries - you're too funny! Apparently marigolds do well in pots also, (read here: they don't die as quickly)and are really cheap. I think I bought 20 for about $20.

VBF! said...

hahaha well done!!! You did a gorgeous job!!! :-) I am soooo like that too, except i end up doing nothing about it! I can't get past just wingeing about these things! :-P

My backyard is a swamp, I'm sure there are crocodiles hiding in the bushes! :-S *GiGGLeS* xx

Firefly mom said...

Great job! Next thing you know, you'll be thumbing thru gardening catalogs, staying up late searching nursery websites for new plant species ;) Or so greenthumbs keep telling me. It's a well known fact that plants at our house have to have a strong will to live.

And did you know that doodle bugs are crustaceans, and related to lobsters? Just one of the fun facts I've learned since we started homeschooling ;)

Kim said...

Hey, it looks great! :-)

Rhea said...

VBF! - Thanks! Crocs in the backyard, huh? That's much worse than a backyard filled with dog poop. I concede the point to you for scaries backyard!

Firefly Mom - haha..well, now that you mention it, I was thinking about grabbing some gardening mags but I think that would totally overwhelm me! I didn't know that about doodle bugs. Very cool!

Kim - Thanks! It's nothing compared to your awesome gardening project, I know!

Thanks, everyone, for coming by and commenting! I really appreciate it!

Erin said...

I love the entries on your garden! Funny and thoughtful! By the way, the rain and chicken: the speaker of the quote had just eaten lunch and was walking out to the parking lot in the drizzle when she looked down at her shirt and noticed spots. That's when she asked the qotd.
Love the blog's new look! It's nice to see your picture! :)

Rhea said...

Erin - Thanks for explaining the chicken or rain quote. I was very, very curious, and now it's even funnier with the context. haha

Glad you like the blog's new look. I'm still playing around with templates and widgets and trying to learn more. It's a work in progress.

Kiera said...

I loved this!! Good for you Rhea, you did it! I will keep in mind that Marigolds are hard to kill...thats what I would have heard too...maybe I'll plant some of those this spring. Ahh, who am I kidding, no I wont. Lovely yard, lovely flowers, great post!

Elle said...

Oooooooooooooooooo.... purdy. Too bad you live so far away; I bet we'd be great friends. ;o)

Rhea said...

Kiera - Thanks! I'll let you know how the marigolds turn out. Hopefully I won't need to do anything to them. I have a spinkler system that's set to go off once a week...that is, if I programmed it right...

Elle - Thanks! I'm not sure where you live...in the middle of nowhere or something like that? lol I haven't made many new friends in our new hometown here...I need some!

Andrea said...

Ah, the old hardy marigolds. Good choice! I think that Lantana is hardy also. I think it's great to move into a place that already has an established garden and all is needed-maintain, I could do that! I just can't plan or makeover, etc. My mom is a garden guru. I am not following in her path. I love gardens, but lack the insight.
BTW-Great job!

Rhea said...

Andrea - Do you have a garden in Germany? What's popular to grow there? With five kids, you could put them to work and have an amazing garden!! lol :o)

~**Dawn**~ said...

I give you so much credit for just trying! I would have made big plans & then asked myself who I thought I was kidding. I can cook. I can bake. I can do many things. But garden? Not going to happen. Strange since my grandparents both had the greenest thumbs possibly ever.

Rhea said...

Dawn - Thanks! You can cook and bake? I'm a great baker...cooking is something I have to work a little harder at though. :o)