They arrived last month.
Evil, seductive things that they are, they started showing up in my mailbox, unbidden, but promising miraculous results and weeks, nay, months of gratification. And I am powerless to resist.
I’m talking, of course, about flower catalogues.
Spring is finally here in the northern hemisphere, and that means every nursery from here to Guadalupe wants to lead me down the garden path. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing, except that I’m a lousy gardener. Never mind having green thumbs, I’m all thumbs when it comes to flowers, bushes, and even vines. It’s true what you’ve heard — I’ll never make the ivy league.
I start out with the best of intentions. I look over all the catalogues, looking at every gorgeous full-colour photograph at least twice. I get silly about shastas and I fantasize about phlox. Then I open my wallet, make a ridiculously large order and from there, well, my plans go to seed.
The first time around, for example, I ordered several trays of annuals from a German-owned greenhouse in a nearby city. I also bought a load of topsoil, figuring that the garden dirt looked pretty depleted. After two days of planting, I had a magnificent garden.
Until it rained.
At that point I realized my topsoil order also came with approximately 6,756 crabgrass and dandelion seeds. The little plants struggled valiantly, but in the end I had to bid them auf Weedersehen.
My second time out, I decided to try perennial flowers like dahlias and daffodils. That was the year it hailed, and the lilies, being dim bulbs, didn’t have sense enough to lean out of harm’s way. With the mixed glads looking very sad, and the rest of the garden looking like so much mulch, the dandelions moved back in. In fact, the tulip section got so bad that a smart alec neighbour posted a sign there that read: Weed my `lips.
I considered planting wild flowers this year, but I’m not sure that even they would be tough enough for a rumble with that rough bull thistle gang that moved in last fall. Besides, I’m sure the people across the road would vetch about the late night ruckus — I’ve heard those purple coneflowers can throw one heck of a garden party.
I even thought about doing the trendy thing and installing one of those elaborate ponds. However, with my luck, I know that one of the following would happen: A) The store clerk would sell me coy fish instead of Koi fish, and I’d never be able to find them in the pond, B) I’d find the neighbourhood dogs doing laps around the water lilies or C) the heron that lives at the nearby creek would take one look at the pond and think: Sushi bar!
With that in mind, I figure I might hedge my bets this year and plant some really tough flora. None of those prim roses, bleeding hearts or pansies this year, no sir. I’m thinking of something with some real flower power, like a mean dogwood or a snapdragon. Or perhaps one of those shady characters called white edged hostas — so it could say `hosta la vista, baby’ to the weeds, and mean it.
Or maybe I’d be better off taking the sage advice of a frond, erm, I mean friend: pave over the garden. I suppose with a few strategically placed garden gnomes and a pair of rose coloured glasses, it might make a credible substitute Eden.
Until the next time the catalogues arrive of course, at which point I’ll be green with envy all over again.
Photo Credit: “Roses-rosengarten” by Croq – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Also published on Medium.