I am out of control. Once Christmas ended, and the holiday decorations were all stored and put away in the cubby hole under the stairs, and winter became plain old winter with nothing left to look forward to in it, my mind switched gears to gardening.
Yep. Gardening. In January.
Two years ago, I embarked on a grass-killing spree in our front yard. I converted about 1000 square feet of lawn into flower beds. This past year, I set my eyes on the giant hill out back, the one that makes me feel like I’m going to have a heart attack every time I mow it. I determined to convert that to flower beds as well, and every time I pushed the mower up the hill, or along the hill, or tried to keep the mower from pulling me down the hill, I cursed the grass and dreamed of the day we would never have to mow it again.
In November, I killed it. I killed it dead. Seeing all that dry yellow that we’ll no longer have to mow makes me ridiculously happy. In fact, I’m going to expand it because I don’t like the shape, and I messed up the curve down there at the bottom, and what the hell, I just spent $50 on seeds, and an expanded swath of dead grass means less to mow and more room for flowers.
This is where the crazy comes in. Since the beginning of January, when I’m not at work, I think of nothing but gardening. I scour Pinterest for planting combinations. I measured all the beds on a day last week when the temperatures finally broke freezing. I scribble notes in my gardening-specific composition book. I check my gardening-specific blog for when things happened last year, jot notes down in my gardening-specific calendar, and draw plans in my gardening-specific graph-paper notebook. I even created a spreadsheet with all of our current plants, the seeds I ordered, and when to plant and where.
In my sweaters and fuzzy slippers, sipping coffee, I walk from window to window, staring out, studying the spaces, thinking about what we already have that I can transplant to another part of the garden, thinking about what new plants I want to buy, considering color and height, reminding myself of the budget, moving another choice from the “buy at the nursery” to the “start from seed” column, checking to see if my on-paper plans will scale to the real landscape, visualizing. Dreaming about what it’s going to look like when everything fills in. I’ve probably worn the paint off the gardening section of the bookshelf, pulling Essential Perennials for Every Garden and Gardening for Birds, Butterflies, & Bees nearly every day to check, “What was that purple plant I liked?”, “What were those native grasses?”, “What will look good with the bee balm? The yarrow?”
I. Just. Can’t. Stop.
I thought I had gotten to a stopping point yesterday. On Friday I spent about 6 hours, and on Saturday about 10 hours, sketching real-deal, true to scale, plans for both the front and the back: about 2000 square feet of butterfly and bird garden.
Once the plans were set, I ordered seeds and made month-by-month purchase lists in Trello so we’ll make sure to budget the right amount each month.
And I was SO PLEASED! I thought maybe I’d stop thinking about it all. I thought my brain would be free to consider other things, like blogging or our children. And it kind of was, for a minute.
Now I want to just finish this post so I can look up shrubs that might do well on the side of the house where they get blasted by wind, and I want to think about the mailbox bed which I neglected to think about in all the thinking about the bigger gardens. Even though the plans are finally made, I keep doing all the same things I was before, only this time with plans in hand. I hold the back hill plan up against the sliding glass door while I look out at the bird feeder and think, hmmm, will that plant actually work where I think it will? (No.) Then I want to redraw everything, or note alternative plants in case the nursery doesn’t have the one I want.
The good news is that I’ve transitioned from “The amount of space to plant is overwhelming there’s no way I can do this!” to an actual plan, with dates of when to do what. I’ve already put in vacation time for my annual gardening week.
I’m very antsy to get started. I want to clean out all the old brush. I want to kill more grass. I want to learn when and how to prune the roses, how much to cut back the rue, what to do with the forsythia when it blooms. I want to start seeds, and move perennials, and see if I can successfully transplant the milkweed. But it’s only January 14! Only 3 weeks past the winter solstice! I can’t believe I have to wait a whole two months to start doing anything.
I don’t want to wish my life away. But I am. Just these two months. I wish winter were almost over so I could stop thinking and start doing.
This is my contribution to the daily challenge, entertain, as the garden seems to entertain me no matter what time of year it is, even if it also makes me crazy.