Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Will You Be Doing the Dirty Work or Hiring Out?

It’s that time of year again, a time when nature attempts to redirect my attention.

The color red blazes. Red symbolizes romance. Candy, flowers, cards, follow undying declarations of love. Hearts of lovers swell with affection. Love has its day. Valentine’s Day hang-over begins…

Welcome to no man’s land. Spring is still far away but pollen filters through the air. The mind, tricked into thinking spring is near, yearns for adventures out of doors. Sinuses ‘spring’ a leak, causing a myriad of problems for weeks on end, and evenings bring rise to the glorious song of the whippoorwill.

Hark, what silhouette on yonder horizon brings? Look up in the sky! It’s a plane! It’s Captain Jack! No. It’s Birds!

Black birds have been descending upon my lawn, searching for seeds, worms, anything nutritious. Like a cluster of pepper in white gravy, the fluctuating spectacle bubbles and streams, reminding bird watchers of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Will I get pecked to death, if I go check the mail? It’s so hard living in the country.

Birds like my porch, you see. Early in the morning, birds sing outside my bathroom window. The melodic chant holds promise, like the movie Mary Poppins or Enchanted. I catch myself singing, "Just a spoonful of sugar..." Warmer weather is but weeks away, however, proving my jovality senseless. How do birds understand time? Are they privy to the predictions of the Almanac? Are birds related to Punxsutawney Phil?

Intrigued, I study these marvels as they perch in numbers upon my climbing Honeysuckle, feathers plumped, scalp locks fanning in the breeze. Alerted, too, are my cats who sit like sentinels at the bottom of my windows, scrutinizing the sense of their prey. Even a cat seems to know an Indian winter when he sees one. And yet, against my will, these birds make my heart race at the thought of the colorful display my garden might provide if I gird my loins and go outside and do the work.

“Do not coerce me, heathen! I am not ready to venture out of doors!”

No, I’d much rather stretch out on the couch with a good romance, a research or writing book, under a soft, cozy blanket with a mug of hot tea or hot chocolate. But birds, however, are not to be appeased. They do not know or care how hard I must toil in the soil in order to save my flower beds. Still these birds cry for seed, which we willingly provide, in honor of the next generation of annuals and perennials.

Ode to neglected flower beds. “Medic!”

Just when you think nothing can fix your garden, mixed within last year’s branching skeletons are green sprigs of tulips, daffodils and creeping thrift. In a month’s time, clematis will begin to creep and leap, producing large blooms which will draw splendorous attention. Yes, not long from now, my out-of-doors will resemble a Shang-ri-la after Medics or Gnomes have ‘cleared’ the way. I remind myself at this time of year, without bees, there would be no honey, no pollen. Without birds, there would be no rich music to be heard, no volunteers to enhance the fertile scene around my home.

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on what makes love great, what sets a garden apart, and what makes a great book. Everything unto its season, right?
Right now, though I tremble at the thought of the work needed to prepare my garden, my muse is dropping seeds (story ideas) and creating a beautiful hybrid (plot). As my new book idea blackens out all else like pepper in white gravy, the ideas layer in my mind, like the bones of a garden. Medic! I call upon a writing friend who soothes the savage beast and assures the bones are ready to be fleshed out. With a little love, the seeds of my plot germinate and the new book takes form, historical romance. Will it be an annual or a perennial? That remains to be seen. But in the end, I’ll be able to stand back and enjoy the glorious spectacle, the colorful spectrum created by the written word.

Which garden are you interested in planting? Will it involve a Medic or a shovel? And will you be doing the dirty work or hiring out?


  1. Write your "garden." Till the soil and revisit it from time to time and it will bloom.

    As for real gardening? Well.... I don't do well in open spaces due to bugs. I hire out and make my hubby do the dirty work.


  2. I will be writing my garden. I do good to wash the porch. Here's the thing. I never learned to do it. I do not have a knack for it. My mother grew beautiful flowers and veggies. I've tried. It goes bad--real bad. It amazes me how some people just go out there and make it happen. I try to remember that when people say they can't cook, but I think cooking is easier. Everyone might not be able to make a souffle or divinity, but anyone who can read can cook something.

    I hire done the basics. I don't have any flowers. I have holly bushes up against the house. I wish I had flowers but I don't wish it enough to do what I have to do to learn to do it. As for the veggies, the farmers' market is less than five minutes from my house.

    I think gardening, like writing, is a passion. To produce something successful, it has to be in your soul. It's not like washing the bathroom floor. You just do it. It takes no passion, just a few minutes and a Swiffer Wet Jet.

  3. I don't have to worry about the garden beckoning me...I have a black thumb...the kiss of death to any plant given to me...that why people give me either cut flowers that are destined to die or silk.

  4. I will be writing one garden and physically planting another...with flowers and plants to delight and thrill my muse when she needs to fill the creative well. When it comes to physically planting anything, I share in the dirty work. It is quite healing.

  5. Because of space limitations, my gardening is now limited to a small patio. When the weather permits, I'll put the flower boxes back on the railings and plant something colorful in them. I'll get two Boston ferns and hang them over the flower boxes. The two give me a little sense of privacy. I have a couple pots I plant herbs in. I use those for cooking. I'll move my aloe plants from my living room to a bakers rack in the corner of the patio and let them thrive in the sun and heat. And then I'll be able to sit outside and enjoy the fruits of my labors. I'm hoping the muse enjoys my efforts cause she seriously needs to come out of hiding.

  6. Christine, I love 'write your garden'. I guess it just depends whether or not you're writing an English cottage garden or a maze. LOL!

    Jean, you've made an important point. My passion is writing and gardening. I'm called to write and the soil calls to my hands. I just love feeling the earth in between my fingers and forego gloves because of it. ;)

    Even a blackened thumb turns green, Pat. Plants just need tender love and care, just like our books. :)

    Crystal, woman after my own heart. Getting dirty is all a part of it. Sometimes I'm covered in dust with mud under my fingernails. Not good for the manicure but definitely good for the soul.

    Playground Monitor, your porch sounds like a fabulous place to be in the summer. And you use fresh herbs too. I've always wanted an herb garden but sadly, I'd let the plants go to waste before I took the time to store herbs properly. I applaud you!

  7. I am like Pat, I have a black thumb. My mother is a fantastic gardener. She has even had her garden featured on a couple of garden tours and she is constantly giving me plants that I promptly kill. The last thing she gave me was what she calls a "mixed pot." It was several different kinds of green plants. I have actually kept it alive since Thanksgiving. This time she gave me very explicit instructions: water 1 cup every Saturday, set on window sill until temperatures reach 20 degrees then move to an interior wall. WOW, I could do all of that. No mystery involved just follow the directions.

    Obviously, I don't garden. Like Marilyn I put out a few potted plants but mine usually kill over by the 4th of July.

  8. Now if you could grow shoes I might be interested!

  9. I used to garden. I had every type of flower possible and I grew a vegetable garden. I also have a green house full of ferns and potted plants. But I don't do the heavy stuff any more. I kind of lost interest in the whole getting outside and killing myself thing. I am like Jean, the farmer's market is close and I don't have to do all the hard stuff.

  10. You see, Stephanie! All it takes is a little know how. In fact, whenever we have the right tools, we can achieve anything we set our minds to. ;)

    Growing shoes? I'm all for that, baby!

    Cheryl, my hubby grows a vegetable garden. I used to can everything, which was nice because it was the one thing I could see that I'd accomplished. I used to open the pantry and stare at my canned foods. That was one thing I could do and it not be messed up 20 minutes later. LOL! Now, I don't have time to can anymore.

    I do appreciate a good farmer's market and there are quite a few up north we like to go to in the summer.