It wasn’t always this way. After a decade of vegetable gardening at our previous home, in a backyard patch that was way too big for two people, I was thoroughly sick of the once-fun hobby that had come to feel like an onerous chore. But there’s nothing like moving into a house with seemingly miles of border gardens – sorely neglected and overrun with hip-high weeds but ripe with potential – to re-establish a love of digging in the dirt. Shifting to perennial gardening provided me with a way to express some artistry and creativity, just like writing does. And it has something else in common with blogging that spurs my passion all the more: an audience. Because we live on a golf course fairway, our backyard is as visible to the public as any front yard. This is hugely motivating to my inner Capability Brown.
Our first summer here I toiled in the dirt almost daily, engaging in mortal combat with invasive and deeply-rooted weeds, while garden-loving neighbors stopped by to see what all the grunting and swearing was about. Over those three months, they gifted me with both freshly-dug perennials and valuable growing advice, and since then, the flower-gardening bug has been firmly entrenched. Thus, I spend early spring each year with my face pressed to the windowpane, staring longingly at my back yard, wishing away the patches of ice and snow and fantasizing about which plants will get moved where, which ones to divide, and what new plants to buy. I make way-too-early trips to the garden center, perennial list in hand, only to endure strange looks from the employees who remind me that it’s barely above freezing and to come back when they actually have some plants for sale.
But this year something changed. Blogging entered the ring and went head to head with gardening for my time and attention. In early spring, this was a welcome diversion. No longer was I gazing hungrily out the back window. Who had time? There was blogging to be done! And I couldn’t do anything but gaze anyway, so it didn’t matter.
Now, though, things are different. The snow has melted and the plants are emerging, struggling to be free of their leafy winter blanket. And the weeds? The are taunting me, laughing at my divided loyalties and full-time job that prevent me from spending marathon sessions in the garden, yanking them out with determined exuberance.
I want to write, really I do, but I also want to be out there, digging in the dirt and tending to my living canvas. The struggle is real, people.
It’s a relief to know that the tension won’t last long. In a few weeks school will end and I’ll have all the time in the world for both hobbies, and more, but until then I have to decide which of my loves gets attention and which suffers neglect. And don’t even get me started on this guy: