“Do you actually like gardening?” Jeremy asked, while we stood outside looking at the backyard.
The truth is, I don’t.
Although I talk about it a lot, and it consumes so much of my free time, for me it’s actually just a means to an end. What I really love is having flowers, trees, fresh herbs, and vegetables right off the vine, all summer. Unfortunately, having these things requires a lot of work.
There are aspects that I do enjoy.
I love spending time outside and the way my arms look after a summer’s worth of cutting the grass with my little manual mower. People think I’m nuts for pushing that thing around, but it really sculpts the guns. I also love shopping at the garden center. Most of all, I love that feeling of pride and satisfaction when I drive up to our house and see our beautiful garden, knowing that I did this.
On the other hand…
I don’t like being attacked by swarms of angry Japanese beetles (which happened to me last year, when I was trying to save what was left of a birch tree they’d devoured while we were at work) or being stung by bees, ants and thistles. Furthermore, I don’t particularly care for cleaning up turds from the neighbourhood cats – three cats, that don’t belong to us, regularly use our garden as a litter box. I also do not enjoy finding carcases from deceased birds and small animals in our flower beds (the later, I thankfully, have not encountered yet this year).
Then, there’s the time. Whenever I step outside, I feel like there are always weeds to be pulled, shrubs to be trimmed, or grass to be cut. I spend so much of my summer up to my elbows in dirt, when I’d rather be on the deck with my feet up, with a magazine and a glass of wine.
I’m still relatively new to gardening. I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I don’t always approach it as efficiently as I could. It’s getting easier every year though. With every passing summer I learn a little more and gain that much more control over our suburban jungle. I’m confident that someday soon I’ll get to spend more time enjoying our yard than working in it.