A surprise Friday afternoon email from a client gave me a reprieve from my latest heinous deadline, which meant I got my weekend back! What to do with two whole days free and gorgeous weather? Why, garden, of course.
Except that I don’t garden.
Let me back up here. Jack and I are beginning the process of getting our house in shape to put it on the market next year (yes, we’re starting way early). Our realtor advised us to get the exterior pictures done now, while it’s nice, so that when we list the place in March, and all the other listings show dreary, snow-covered houses with shoveled-out driveways, ours will stand out by comparison.
Here’s what I was planning to do: chop back a weed (an aggressive weed, it must be said – near our front door, and mere inches away from ringing the bell…) and put up a hanging flower basket out front. Here’s what Jack talked me into actually doing: chopping back the weed, hanging the flower basket, digging out FOUR huge and scraggly bushes that were threatening to overtake our back deck, adding flower pots to each patio table, repairing the garden hose, and installing 3 rectangular planters full of – I don’t know – petunias or begonias or something.
Beautification. With bugs.
What started out as a quick errand turned in to a “fun” couples’ activity that lasted all weekend. (Well, we started with a round of miniature golf, but once we got to our local home-and-garden center, it was all over.)
My first question: why are garden centers out of almost everything? Isn’t the weather just now getting really nice? Didn’t summer solstice just happen, like, last week? Turns out that people actually started over a month ago. We were left with the dregs, to be sure (silver lining: clearance!)
One thing they didn’t have anymore? Rectangular planters, with flowering plants already in them. Which is what I assumed we’d get. But no, as the chuckling staff explained to me, we had to get 1) the planters themselves, 2) the flowering plants, 3) more dirt (truly, this is called “potting soil” and there are 200 kinds of it and you have to pay for it) and 4) a watering can.
Did I mention that I’ve never gardened?
Here’s an action shot from my first effort:
After “transplanting” the flowers, we got to work on the shrubs. Or, more accurately, Jack got to work on the shrubs. I did my bit with a pair of hedge clippers, trying to at least whittle the bushes down, but Jack did the really hard labor, which involved a digging spade and a fair amount of cursing. At one point, when he reached the “root ball” of a particularly stubborn shrub after close to an hour, he channeled his inner Jesse from Breaking Bad and muttered “Oh, yeah, it’s moving day, B****!”
And guess what was in that shrub, by the way? This:
Yup, the actual skin that an actual snake had shed! A snake that could still be around – a snake that could be pissed that we were tearing up its house! While I was taking the above photo (like a complete knucklehead), my loving husband said, “Hold very still.”
Naturally, I shrieked and ran. If there actually had been a snake, I’d probably be in an ICU being pumped full of anti-venom about now.
But there was no snake (well, that we know of), the bushes are gone, the sinister weed has been tamed, the planter boxes have actual plants in them now, and the outside of our house looks much better than it did before. Bring on the realtor’s photographer!
As for us, we’re tired, cranky, and ingesting varying quantities of Tylenol (me), Advil (Jack), and Magner’s Hard Cider (also Jack.) Jack’s knees hurt. My shoulders are sunburnt, I’m riddled with insect bites, and my back is killing me.
I sure am glad I got those two free days to relax!