Gardening: I Love the Concept but Hate the Reality

     (Grow-on-their-own hydrangeas in Mellor garden, summer of 2010)

I LOVE fresh flowers and vegetables; I just hate everything that goes into producing them. Why?  Whenever I attempted a garden in the past, my knees screamed “Stop!” only 5 minutes into labor (oh, I know I should have ordered those gizmos that cushion the knees). Then, there was that damage to my back and neck. Hours of bending over saw me resembling Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame

Take roses, for instance…they’re really beautiful and I’d love a yard full of them.  But whenever I planted a floribunda (“many blossoms”?), I’d end up with one lone rose atop a stripped-down pole of a stem.  The bugs ate all the greenery before the bud could even “hatch”. Oh, I know there are safe pesticides (is that an oxymoron?), but I hate using them.

And let’s face it:  Gardening is dirty, and some of us are wired NOT TO LIKE THAT.  How do I know?  I remember taking my younger daughter to the beach when she was two. I’d bring all the beach gear up from the car, spread the blanket with one arm and set her down with the other.  I’d try to lure her into leaving the confines of the blanket, tempting her with toys of truck, pail, and shovel.

But as soon as her toes hit the white stuff, she’d scream and retreat to the blanket. Next, she’d sit and feverishly work to pick off sand particles from her toes, pointing to the offensive element, howling her displeasure. All the while, her older sister cavorted around, building sand castles, burying herself in the stuff the younger one viewed as contaminant.

I’d point out all the other children, obviously entranced with the powdery element but she’d have none of it. Oh, she finally deigned to play with the beach toys—but it had to be on her turf—the blanket.

So, don’t tell me genetic predispositions aren’t real, for I realize I’m wired to hate dirt. I simply can’t stand it in my work gloves and shoes…even temporarily.

In the end, dirt alone isn’t the problem: I dislike sweating; I hate encasing my hands in gardening gloves (what bug might lurk inside?), and I don’t like swarming insects that target me “the enemy.” And then, there’s still… all that pain.

So, I’ll continue to buy fresh flowers and vegetables at roadside stands and appreciate my stalwart sisters, those ladies of the Garden Club (and some men who valiantly follow their passion, too) who make our landscape more beautiful. To me, they’re the real ‘Steel Magnolias.’

Biddy knows, however, they won’t be issuing her an invitation to join, anytime soon.

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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