Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Rorschach Test

When you look at this, what do you see?

Don't feel bad if you answered 'mud pit.' You're what we call a literalist, because literally, that's all it really is. A mud pit. Oh, sure, it's a mud pit with some hostas, ferns, a rather large magnolia tree, and something called Japanese spurge in it, but there's no getting around the fact that it's a mud pit.

Tangent alert (Tangent tangent alert: bad sign if we're tangenting this early in the blog, don't you think?): I was in an English grad school class once about ten years ago, listening to other scholars debate the existential ramifications of the fact that this character had no tongue, and I said, but it doesn't say he doesn't have a tongue anywhere in the book. Maybe he just doesn't talk. The class discussion came to a screeching halt as all eyes zeroed in on me, and the professor said, "You are such a literalist." It was not a compliment.

Anyway, back on topic: What is this?

A mud pit, yes. But what else?

This, my friends, is hope. Hope in dirt form.

In a mere six and a half months, this will be a rebirth in action.

Kind of like this:

I live for this renaissance in floral form. I have no problem spending multiple weekends grubbing around in the cold, wet dirt every fall. I have no problem working peat moss into said cold, wet dirt to insure the best blooms possible.

(Although I do have a problem trying not to berate certain 'Home' improvement warehouse 'garden centers' for not carrying said peat moss. I might forgive them for not carrying peat moss--a gardener's best friend--but when these supposed garden center experts instead suggest that I buy mulch because it will do the same thing? That's when I get a little irate. Mulch does not nourish plants. Mulch covers ground. Like the aforementioned mud pit.)

(Ooh, bad sign, another tangent!)

My husband finds this ironic, because when it comes to home improvement, I'm an instant-gratification kind of gal. I love to paint a wall, because voila! The moment you're done, the wall is beautiful! I don't have the patience to do wiring or other unsexy things. Or the skill set, but that's another tangent. (How many will we get to today?)

But I'll plan my plants a whole two seasons ahead of schedule. There is no instant gratification in this:

(area most recently covered by insane tomatoes and pumpkin vines)(but daffodils and tulips do not come up at the same time tomatoes go out, so we're all good)

But there will be. The bloom of bulbs in the fading gray of early spring does such good things for my soul that I suck it up and break out the bulb digger. I have help. The kid is Chief Dirt Stomper, and this year graduated to Head of Shoveling Dirt Onto The Ones Mommy Put In The Ground (But Not The Ones Still In The Bucket, For The One Hundredth Time!). Teach them early, that's what I say. As in, teach them to do your work for you. He thinks he's playing in the dirt; I'm crossing the days off the calendar until I can sit on the patio, drinking a hot toddy and just pointing to where I want the next batch, thank you very much.

Can I tell you something that I'm somewhat ashamed of, yet will make you want to smack me upside the head? I totally slacked off this fall. I did maybe half my normal amount of bulbs. Really. I only put 300 in the ground. Total loser.

(Did that count as another tangent? I lost count.)

Mud pits in October. Hope for a brighter tomorrow.

The Rorschach Test.


jgoode said...

"It is a tree in an environment that it doesn't have to compete." Says the Arborists as she sits on the shrinks sofa and looks at the Rorschach test. If there were grass all the way to the trunk then it would be taking nutrients that the tree needs. Just wanted to add a positive spin on your mud pit. I enjoyed your post. Have a great day and don't forget the trees and their roots when planting.

Sarah M. Anderson said...

I tried to keep the roots in mind, because it would just about kill me if anything happened to my magnolia. To that end, we added an extra 2-3 inches of soil on top and a healthy layer of peat so that the bulbs wouldn't be stealing.

Thanks for reading!

lucylucia said...

You know what? When I looked at that first photo I instantly thought "oooh that's a ghostly orb". Not kidding. Anyways, I admire the gardener in you!

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Well, it was raining . . . But I can see the ghosty part.