Sunday, April 05, 2009

Good deeds, roses, and lemonade

I gardened today! Went to the store to get drought-resistant plants (they remembered me! Asked me how I was settling into the area. I was shocked, and quite pleased. I guess they don't get many customers on bikes, and that would make me memorable? Also I went in just about three weeks in a row to get books + research + supplies and finally plants.) Pulled up all the weeds I had let grow over the winter (eek!), applied pesticides to and turned over the proper soil (in preparation for tomatoes, basil, and possibly another herb) and planted flowers (iris and geranium) in the two clay pots. If the iris and geranium are bigger in three weeks or so, I'll plant tomatoes + herbs. The weeds were these low-lying, mostly water (hence grows faster?) plants that smelled vaguely of honeysuckle and had big lily-pad like leaves. They covered everything. It was really quite impressive. My goal for next winter: Do not let them take over my garden. My goal for the next three weeks: water the plants twice weekly. I haven't taken up the strawberries, and I should pinch off the flowers until June if I want them to produce more fruit, but they look pretty pitiful and so I'm not sure what to do. I really can't have strawberries next to tomatoes (tomatoes harbor a fungus that kills strawberries), but I think my strawberries are dying of said fungus anyway, so... yeah. I have to think. I have a big raised bed, which I'd like to turn into a kitchen garden, but I know I need to start small, or I'll just do nothing at all.

I was on such a roll from pulling out weeds that when I finished cleaning the back, and packing them up, and watering my plants, I checked on the roses on the common walk. The land lord does all of nothing to take care of them (it seems), so there were (already?!) all these rose hips. I cut off as many as I could reach without drawing blood; hopefully more roses will bloom. And I took one mostly-gone rose, and a bud, for myself, because they are pretty. But seriously, this rose bush was more like a rose tree than a bush. It was kind of absurd getting the blooms from them, because I had to pull them down from the roof. Maybe it'll be a project for this winter to actually prune it (they say, for places without true winters, to prune in December and January, and for people with true winters to prune in early spring -- it's late for either case; drat! Also, I do not know if I have a true winter or not -- that sounds like something to ask the people in the gardening store). I would feel a little bit strange about doing it, and would probably want to talk to the landlord first, but... seriously; you can't hardly see the blooms because they are above the roof. Sheesh. I consider what I did a good deed for my neighbors, because now we can share many more roses. Hopefully. I wonder if the landlord waters the roses. I wonder if my hose stretches far enough. My hunch: not, on both counts. They only take about an inch of water a week, so maybe I could go back and forth with the watering can. Hmm. (Since it will likely not even drizzle again until September at the earliest, this bears thinking about.)

Anyway, now I have washed all the dirt from my knees and hands, put the rose + bud in water in a wine bottle, and am drinking lemonade. (I made two glasses. I will drink both.) There is something very satisfying about a day spent outside, planting and tending things. It is more concrete than the typically intellectual problems which I face on a day-to-day basis. Plus, I don't have to do in on a daily basis, which makes it much more fun, by definition.

This week: preparing for the seder! I will likely be cooking eight pounds of meat. The reality of that just hit me. Huh.


Ryan said...

Sounds fun. I totally get what you mean about wanting something concrete to do--particularly that one can do outside. Grad school, I'm pretty sure, is not good for the health.
Have fun with the seder!

ayn said...

Your plans for the garden sound great. =) I hope that some day I will have enough natural light to have some tasty plants.

Also, you need to photo-document the garden's progress!

Elizabeth said...

@Ryan: I know! It's crazy. But people here are pretty understanding of the whole "have to do things other than grad school sometimes", so that's good.

@Ayn: Eek! I still haven't gotten a camera. Mayhaps having a garden to document will spark me to do so.