Every single year.
Every single year I tell myself it is my year to grow a garden. A few gardens! Flower beds (plural) and a vegetable garden. Every single year I tell myself that gardening is what moms do. Annnnnd as a mom, it’s what I’m going to do so very well. I mean, I raise children; I can raise a few flowers and maybe some cucumbers.
When we bought our house, the mom who previously lived here had multiple glowing, growing gardens. Yet, every single year I fail. Some years I fail worse than others. I’ve gotten so good at failing at it, I thought I’d make a guide, replete with step-by-step instructions.
How to Fail at Gardening (An Annual Guide)
- Set high expectations: For the love of red and yellow roses. My gardens will have purple fragrant lilacs. Hydrangeas. Lilies. Fields of tulips. Towering sunflowers. And the vegetable garden – pure home grown family sustenance, truly farm to table. Salads every night. Homemade pasta sauce, and pickled radishes. Pumpkins to carve and pumpkin seeds to roast, vegan pumpkin chili oh-my (NSFW). Zucchini noodles, zucchini breads, and zucchini cookies, all of which my daughters will eat willingly. And don’t forget the herbs! I will grow mint, rosemary, basil, and lavender. It helps to raise your expectations if you have all of the recipes in advance, which is why I provided the hyperlinks.
- Make a plan: I tell myself for weeks in advance that I will water the gardens every day before I get in my car and drive to work; and then I will do the same again every day when I get home from work. I research which plants do well in sunlight and which ones need shade. The more research you do, especially with your limited free time, the more likely you will succeed, for sure!
- Find a babysitter and get your hands dirty: Nothing is better than paying for a babysitter to do back-breaking, sweat-inducing manual labor! Although, the stress relief you will find will pay for the babysitter ten times in value. Plus, in sincerity, dirt is good for the soul.
- Then, choose any one of the following major life events or circumstances, or a combination thereof:
- Get pregnant
- Get a new job
- Over-schedule your weeknights
- Get a dog
- Endure weeks of 90 degree heat
- Infestation of Japanese beetles
- Rabbits or squirrels, and maybe a combination of both
- Go on vacation, heck take a couple of vacations
- Ask anyone under the age of 26 to water the plants
- Realize that you don’t like gardening and find a new hobby
- Notice that despite all your reading, you don’t have a clue what you’re doing
- Life and/or kids in general
- Rationalize the circumstances listed above: Forget to water the plants and then reassure yourself that it rains. Tell yourself that the dog will scare off the rabbits. Pray that it is not as bad as you think it is. Consider paying a neighborhood kid, over the age of 26, to come and water the gardens every day. Tell yourself the weeds look kind of nice; reassure yourself that weeds are green, and make a plan to pick them once a month. Remind yourself that for the most part, neighbors only see your front yard (failures).
- Promise yourself that you will scale it back next year: Consider more landscaping, like a rock garden.
- Wonder how it is that children are so incredibly resilient: Then realize that you are so dastardly lucky for that resilience.