04 June 2006

I had a farm in Africa

Getting dirt out from under one's fingernails is less work than you might imagine, if you have the right tool. My secret weapon is a pot scrubbing brush I bought ages ago for a grill pan. Although I rarely use the grill pan, the brush has thoroughly proven its worth as both pot-cleanser and me-scrubber.

And thank god for it, too, because I appear to have taken up gardening. I am beginning to think that I might be a teensy bit competetive, because I can't seem to take up any new hobby, skill, or acquaintance without hounding it to the ground, beating it senseless with attention, and finally smothering it in my attempt to master it.

So I started gardening for the first time in my life exactly three years ago, and the American Horticultural Society has YET to take notice of my contributions to the field. The establishment is always so slow to embrace new genius.

I began my adventures three years ago with an abounding enthusiasm for heathers, so I now have this corner garden in my sunny yard with several varieties of heather who have yet to live up to their potential. Slackers.

Of course, my enthusiasm for heathers was partly fueled by my understanding that "drought-tolerant" means "you can ignore the watering hose all summer long, don't sweat it, we know you have more important things to do."

Gardening instructions are notoriously difficult to decipher, but some things just come naturally to me. It's a gift.

So today I went out there and, with much meaningful rolling of my eyes and pointed sighing, started taking better care of them. I moved them closer together, planted some new lovelies where mysterious gaping holes had appeared, and then, yes, watered them.

I'll be expecting my certificate of accomplishment in the mail any day now.

There are all sorts of things that my grandmother planted back in the 50s that aren't looking half bad these days, so I took a few snaps for you.

I am also, you see, a master photographer.

(Scroll though the "garden" set for the before and after shots.)

Ella's Rhododendrons

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