So I thought I'd post some photos of my own landscaping efforts. I admit they're relatively modest compared to the cornucopia of vegetables and flowers and perennials that garnish some other retirement sites. But the truth is, while I like to garden, I am too lazy to be a good gardener.
My brother-in-law, in Pennsylvania, plants two huge gardens -- he has an acre of corn and beans and squash out front, and another half-acre plot in the back with tomatoes and herbs. And the whole place is framed by sunflowers and other decorative plants. He's a teacher. And he spends almost all his spare time -- probably 20 - 30 hours a week, from April through October -- taking care of that garden.
But me? My efforts are too sporadic. And if there's a shortcut to be had, I take it. If there's a step to skip, I skip it. And that doesn't work when it comes to gardening. (Not home repairs, either, but that's another story.)
The result? I planted this garden out back. We got one lily.
I don't know what the problem is. But it can't be the soil, or the climate, because here are the lilies growing in my next-door neighbor's yard:
I know when you put in flowers, preparing the soil is a crucial step. But it's hard! I never dig the holes deep enough. I forget the fertilizer. I do give the new plants plenty of water -- but I don't follow through and continue to water them until they get firmly established.
That's why I do best with naturally occurring, locally indigenous plants. When we moved into our house, I found several scraggly bushes at the edge of a small patch of woods out back. I transplanted them to the side of the house. Then I strutted over to B and crowed, "Now, that's what I call landscaping!"
And she replied, "Well, that's what I call pricker bushes!" Okay, they may not be pretty. But now, a few years later, they do look healthy, don't they?
There's another indigenous plant that I can grow. Except it is not so much indigenous specimen as it is an invasive pest. I spend almost as much time cutting down these vines as my brother-in-law spends tilling his tomato patch.
Now B has put a few planters and a window box out back on our deck. I think she has a slightly greener thumb than I do. Plus, she does it right. She got some potting soil; she waters them regularly; she placed them in just the right spot, where they get sun . . . but not too much sun.
She even weeds the window box. Weeding? What's that all about? I hate to weed. Besides, aren't weeds just naturally occuring indigenous plants, ones that suburban dwellers simply fail to properly appreciate? For example, look at these indigenous purple flowers blooming in my lawn.
But the lawn is another story altogether, perhaps one for another blog post. Meanwhile, I walk the dog every morning, and every morning we go past my other neighbor, who really knows what he's doing when it comes to gardening.
But, really, now . . . don't ya think he's kind of showing off!