My English grandmother had a green thumb. After living in the prairies for many years, she moved to the coast where the climate was much more temperate. She and grandpa moved to a small town near the Canadian/US border called White Rock. Named after a huge white boulder that was on the beach.
She named her garden English Pride. She had someone engrave this on a wooden plaque and put it at the entrance gate to her garden. She could put anything in her garden at any place and it would grow.
Well, I have been retired for two and a half years and my thumb is not green yet. I moved to within a couple of miles of White Rock but no gardening skills occurred.
The funny thing is that I love gardens. I love pictures of gardens, love to walk through gardens, read how to garden, and watch gardening shows. I even love to listen to gardening shows on the radio. I just don’t like putting my hands in the soil and pulling weeds.
I used to work with people that would say they couldn’t wait to go home and get their hands in the soil. They said it was so relaxing. I thought it was just one more thing on my to-do list
In May of 2013, I went with a girlfriend to London England to go to the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Garden show. We spent the week in London and had a fabulous time. It still didn’t make me want to garden.
We now live in a gated community and have landscapers that come weekly. They mostly mow the lawns, shape the hedges, and do all the other things that yards need. I still have to do some gardening.
The previous owner of our home was quite the gardener. We moved in the spring and by summer I had a huge area in my garden with three to four foot high black-eyed Susans and purple Flox. I got them without doing anything, they just came up. Every spring they start and by summer they are back!
I have learned that the best thing for me to do is to buy perennials. You plant once and that’s it. So I have roses, hydrangeas, peonies, and other shrubs. I spend time learning the names of flowers. My favorite is a Daphne transatlantica.
This shrub, once established, will flower on and off through the spring and summer. It releases such a beautiful scent. I was told to plant it near our front door and every time you open the door it will pull in the scent. It really does.
I try to make the work needed in my garden as easy as possible. That way I can enjoy it more. I also think it is really important to let your plants know what you expect of them. I brought a lilac tree with us, to our new home. It had been a gift from a friend when my mum died. I knew it could flower as it already had but it didn’t seem to want to cooperate with me. I watered, fertilized, and talked to it.
I gave it two years to get going and still nothing. I knew I had to bring in the big guns. I went out to where it stood flowerless and said “Here are the sad facts. I have given you two years and that is all you get. If you can’t flower by next spring I will need to bring in the shovel and you know what that means.”
Needless to say, she flowered like crazy the next spring. I guess we all have our own way of gardening. Some a little more conventional than others.
Now that I have a little more time than I used to, I may spend some of that time in my garden. I don’t really want to weed, although one has to do some. I find I can talk to my plants, shrubs, and flowers and they seem to be doing not too bad.
What I need to start working on is talking to the weeds. Perhaps show them my cache of illicit herbicides, pesticides, and a whole host of other poisons. I may be on to something.
Now is the time to think about how you want to spend your free time when you retire. If you grow flowers, will you spend the time talking and nurturing them or will you be old fashioned and dig up the weeds to leave room for your flowers. It’s up to you.