This week's blog prompt concerns gardening: Is it a pain or a pleasure?
First, let's get this out of the way: I hate gardening, but I love gardens.
When I was a kid, my mother kept large vegetable gardens (yes, plural) and several large flowerbeds. She loved gardening. Only arthritis stops her from doing it now. I grew up eating produce from Mom's garden, whether fresh, canned, frozen, pickled, or jellied. With a large family, a vegetable garden made good sense, being a frugal use of limited funds to serve voracious appetites. What I remember about the vegetable garden was absolutely hating being told to weed (and, frankly, I did little weeding at all). I didn't like digging, picking vegetables, or anything about the garden except what it produced to suit my finicky taste. The garden represented a lot of hot, sweaty, backbreaking work for what I childishly perceived as grossly inadequate reward.
Mom must have felt much the same, because after she and Dad moved south, she focused on flowers instead of vegetables. She took a lot of pride in her vegetables and flowers, entering open competitions at the county fair and doing quite well. She established a tradition among the equestrian 4-H groups using hanging plants to decorate the portions of the horse barns the clubs occupy. Truly, no one thought to do that until she brought basket after basket of flowering plants and hung them from the rafters above the aisle between the rows of stalls. Thirty-five years later, 4-H clubs are still doing that.
I grew up with flowers everywhere: snapdragons, daisies, roses, baby's breath, petunias, salvia, irises, lilies, tulips, crocuses, daffodils, jonquils, and a whole host of others I can't remember or name. (Strangely enough, I can't remember Mom ever planting columbine, which is one of my favorites.) However, I still loathe weeding and regard gardening as hot, dirty, sweaty, backbreaking work.
I'd rather muck stalls. (Which, yes, is hot, dirty, sweaty, backbreaking work.)
I enjoy strolling among public gardens, not that I actually do that much at all. But on the rare occasion that I do go, I enjoy it. I like the smell of verdant growth and damp soil, the fragrance of flowers. That reminds me that I need to spend a lot less time hunched over my computer and more time outside.