Some people find their gardens restful. In the summer I feel the same way, but in spring, I find my plants to be very whiny. Think kindergarteners crossed with junior high kids, with a few immature high schoolers thrown in for good measure.
It starts with the potted plants. I’m planting petunias with a couple dahlias, zinnias, some trailing ivy’s and a few pansies for good measure. Then, it starts.
‘George. George? Where are you, honey?’
‘On the other side of the petunias! I tell you, Jane, this woman doesn’t know what she’s doing.”
“The petunias! Don’t pay them any attention, George. You know how they are. Such posers. Everyone knows they’re very high maintenance.” Jane sniffs loudly and George grunts in agreement.
As I sit there, spade in hand, bugs nipping at my neck while I push in more plants, add some soil and stick in something else, I find myself agreeing with Jane’s point of view. There’s no doubt that a bunch of cascading petunias are beautiful, but really. All they want is your constant attention. ‘Dead head me, please,’ they say to George and me in a sultry voice. ‘Cmon. Just lightly massage these dying buds of mine.’
‘Don’t listen to them, George!’ Jane shouts from her side of the plant pot. ‘Once you start, they’ll bother you constantly. Stick with the pansies.’ George looks around, but the pansies have already fainted in the mild spring sun. He gives a scornful grunt, wondering what on earth possessed this gardener to put pansies in the same pot as Dahlias, petunias, and marigolds. I later admit my mistake aloud, which satisfies George immensely.
And then, the begonias. They’re quite content spending most of the day in the shade. But lately, with no sun at all, they’ve been complaining and turning slightly brown around the edges.
‘Why is it so gloomy out?’ the showy pink one says. ‘Where is the sun? I just want a few minutes of it. No, I want it lurking in the sky, somewhere around the corner of the house. This is so depressing.’ I find myself agreeing with her.
The other begonias chime in, their voices droning softly like rich people at a boring party. They’re showier than the petunias, and they know it. They don’t usually spend much energy talking to the other plants, other than offering the occasional ‘hush up, now,’ to George and Jane, who are the most vocal dahlias I’ve ever planted. George always listens. Unbeknownst to Jane, he has a secret crush on the pink begonia in the large bowl to his left.
Then there’s the grass. It whispers faintly all day long, filling me with guilt as I survey the patches of clover and dandelions dotting its surface. ‘I think I’ll move over there,” I hear the grass saying, and soon enough, it has infested a flower bed. There are large bare patches on the front lawn, but fresh, green blades grow happily in every other area.
I survey the unconscious pansies, the petunias begging for attention, the snooty begonias, and as I wipe the sweat from my brow, I drop a choice word or two. They don’t care. As I slink back into the house, I can hear them all laughing at me. Even the weeds, who sound like Russian mobsters. Sometimes I really hate my garden.