Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The Home Gardener  

As warmer weather returns to my area of the country, people are going outside to plant flowers and begin to spruce up their properties for spring. This past Sunday, I planted a few flowers at the front of the house. I put in some dianthus, which actually is a variety of flower which I had never heard of before I saw them at the hardware store. (The flower's name means "divine flower", and there are over 300 varieties of it which include carnations.) I planted them around the pansies which I had planted a few weeks back when it was a little colder. The combination of the yellow, white, and blue pansies along with the red dianthus makes for a nice spring look in the front.

At the same time I was out planting the dianthus, I trimmed the lirope. At the suggestion of a landscape expert, I put in the lirope to line the walkway up to the house. It is a shady area because it is covered by a couple of Bradford pear trees on one side and several white pines on the other. As I was told, I have found the lirope to be very hardy. They are able to do quite well with the partial sunlight and less water that the trees present.

Around the Bradford pear trees, there is simply bare mulch. I have wanted to put a ground cover there, but given that it is a large area of probably 100 square feet or so, I have opted for English ivy. There is a small portion that has vinca which has begun to bloom and looks quite attractive. It seems it would be too expensive to cover the area with vinca. Beside, it does not propagate as fast as ivy. In addition, I have ivy which I figure that I can transplant from where I do not want it to where I want it. Accordingly, I dug up a few ivy plants and put them in this bare mulch area. If they seem to take, I will move some more. For now it looks a bit strange with a few long ivy plants near the base of one of the Bradford pears.

As you might not have gathered from this, I am actually not much of a gardener. I just do a little bit here and there. Most of the time, my wife, who has the artistic eye, makes a suggestion, and we implement those. However, I have found an interesting phenomena which is that I feel the most like a homeowner when I am doing gardening work. Whether it is trimming something or planting something, I get an intense sense that I am indeed a homeowner, and I take an even greater amount of pride in our home. During the outdoors work, I begin to think of numerous ways to enhance our home through landscaping.

It makes me wonder because when I was growing up, I helped my father do outdoors work. And I really disliked doing it. There are a number of reasons for this. The primary reason is that I was the youngest of four children. The next nearest brother in line is five years older than me. That meant that for five years, I was the one who was supposed to mow the grass and help my father with his outdoor projects. By the time this responsibility fell on my shoulders, my parents had moved to a house that had lots of property on it. This meant there were many outdoor projects which were to be done.

Although some of the work was very cathartic, such as clearing out a grove of elantis, there was quite a bit of it I did not enjoy. One thing my father would do every year is order about a million tiny pine trees through the local forestry service. And then he and I would troop all over, what to me was already a heavily forested area on the property, and plant all of these tiny trees. This meant hauling water because there were no hoses that could reach where we had gone. It might have been good for him, but, at the time, I could not stand it. I remember the countless trips to the water spigot to fill up plastic one gallon milk cartons with water and then loading up the wheel barrow to return to where we were planting these trees.

I think the other reason that I enjoy this outdoor work is that this outdoor work captures a fundamental aspect of being a man. Contrary to popular belief, work is not a result of the Fall. As is recounted in Genesis, "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it." (Gen. 2:15) The first work was gardening as Adam was given the responsibility of taking care of paradise. Perhaps when I engage in similar work, I tap into the original plan of God's that we would take great pleasure in our work as we cultivate the paradise given to us by God.

Posted by David at 7:38 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


Post a Comment