Monday, December 27, 2010

A Solemn Vow, in Front of Witnesses

I was given some cash for Christmas, and with it I bought my heart's desire (or at least one of them - there are many): a pair of Felcos.  My history with hand pruners is not good.  Knowing myself as I do, I generally buy cheap pruners, anticipating that their life span will be less than a year.  They will either be lost behind a shrub, rusted shut after being left to fend for themselves in the rain, or hopelessly dulled through misuse and abuse.  Most likely all three.  But this year - oh, this year!  I will be good.  So very very good.  It is the new year, and all things are possible.

And so I vow that this year I will:
  1. Bring my pruners inside every day, and not leave them all alone outside perched on top of a fence post.
  2. Cease cutting wire with my pruners because I am too lazy to go inside to get wire cutters.
  3. Use a pruning saw to cut tree limbs, rather than mashing said limb into my pruners and forcing the blades shut between my elbow and thigh.
  4. Refrain from cutting nefarious woody weeds below the soil line with my pruners.  I shall employ a garden fork to elevate the buggers and then behead them.
  5. Refuse to use my pruners for any non-gardening tasks, such as snipping the rage-inducing plastic ties that hold plastic toys to their plastic packaging.
  6. Clean the dirt and bits of greenery from my pruners on occasion.  Promising to oil them regularly and disinfect them between cuts on a rose is going too far.
  7. Use my pruners gently, love them tenderly, and resist the temptations of pruner abuse.
 These things I solemnly vow, at least for the time time being.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Consolations of Winter

We have woken up to snow three mornings in a row, and the ground is frozen solid.  But there are amaryllis, and cyclamen, and there will be narcissus in a few weeks.  And the true consolations of a winter gardener - a fire, a cup of coffee, and a pile of gardening books - are already doing their comforting work.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sleepless in Suburbia

I don't sleep well anymore.  It could be the child, or the age, or the lack of exercise, but whatever mix of brain chemistry and midnight visits from a small boy in footie PJ's is to blame, insomnia is a frequent bedfellow. My sleepless nights are often the same: I lay in bed for hours, right on the cusp of sleep, with my brain circling obsessively around a problem (usually one that is non-existent in daylight hours, sometimes one that is actually a product of a dream), never quite getting a hold of it.  On those nights, I need something real, something solvable, to whack my brain out of its circular rut and into a path that might lead to sleep.


Nothing much is fail safe when it comes to insomnia, but gardening actually works better than Benadryl, my other midnight friend.  No, I don't go outside and dig in my nightgown.  I lay in bed and plan.  Scheme.  Rip out beds, replant them with fabulously expensive drifts of tree peonies.  Buy the house next door (the boarding house, not our nice neighbors), knock it down, and make a market garden in their yard that allows me to quit my job and live on fennel and peas.  Last night I planned a way to connect the house to the back garden by taking off the railing of the deck and building terraces from the top of the deck to the lawn below.  Its doable.  It did it last night, in the wee hours of the morning, and didn't even break a sweat.  I did it in my sleep.