Garden Walk 2008

Here's a picture of my little garden taken last summer, right about the time I wrote this post. I'm reposting now in honor of this weekend's Garden Walk.

My dad was an avid gardener. A huge section of our backyard was, to my dismay, given over to his vegetable garden, taking valuable space away from more important things like kickball and tag. Each year dad planted corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and peas, and occasionally something more exotic like watermelons, pumpkins or kolarabi. The small front yard was given over to flowers - evil things that meant nothing more to me than having to be careful with my bike and the daily chore of watering them. I inherited a number of traits from my dad but his green thumb was definitely not one of them. My idea of gardening was an annual trip to Dollar General once the snow melted to buy a few pieces of fake ivy for my window boxes. No, I'm not joking.

When the Urban Roots garden co-op opened a few blocks from my house, I greeted the news with a giant "who cares" even though I know several of the people who worked so hard to make it happen. But the co-op got a lot of publicity, so I stopped in a few weeks after the opening to check it out. Monique rather pointedly offered to help me pick out something for my window boxes. Well, why not? It would save me a trip to Dollar General and I'd be supporting a community project. Gee, these flowers sure do come in a lot of colors, and if you buy eight they're only $1.99 each...

I'm not sure how or when it happened exactly, but I seem to have become a gardener. That something for my window boxes was followed by English Ivy, Bugleweed, Coreopsis, Silver Mound, Pachysandra, Jacobs Ladder, Marigolds, various ornamental grasses and wildflowers, Dianthus, Astilbe, and a few things I don't even know what they are. I plan my social life around getting home to water. I fret when the wind gusts too high or the rain falls too hard. I worry about pests. I visit Urban Roots "just to say hi and see what's new... I won't buy anything." The place is amazing. They have so many beautiful things, and the variety seems to change daily. Everyone there is friendly and helpful and patient with all the silly questions a beginner has. I've come to dread Tuesdays, that horrible day their wooden gate is closed and locked.

Now don't get the wrong idea. I'm not ready for the Garden Walk or anything like that, and I don't yet enjoy getting my hands dirty like hardcore gardeners seem to. Gardening is still a chore for me, but it's a chore I can live with, and it sure feels nice to be proud of my yard.

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