So I was putting some strawberry plants into a strawberry pot, and I was reflecting on the name that I’ve chosen here, and how there are lots of other words I could have used to describe my gardening style. I think “half-assed” is a pretty good umbrella descriptor, because I think maybe some of the other adjectives one could use are just facets of half-assedness. Contributors to my half-assedness.
I was thinking about it because these strawberries looked truly awful. Perhaps it makes more sense to go to Portland Nursery and get some beautiful packs of strawberries that don’t have a single brown square centimeter, then immediately put those plants into a brand new pot with fresh, perfectly amended soil. But see…we’re broke. Like, not scary broke! We’re fine! I think. But I want (NEED) lots of things (especially plants) for our house and yard, so I really have to be strategic. NextDoor and my neighborhood Buy Nothing group have actually both been hooking me up lately! So the other day a neighbor posted that she wanted to get rid of her strawberry pots, and I immediately was like OH MY GOD ME PLEEEEAAAASE ME because my kids are genuine freaks about strawberries, and also I have done pretty well with them in the past, and also strawberry pots are cute. Then the very next day, a neighbor wanted to get rid of strawberries. Perfect! The only issue is that I was picking up the plants yesterday, and the pot today. But, like…it’s free! And I’m half-assed!
I genuinely don’t remember exactly what the plants looked like when the lovely woman gave them to me, but they were definitely in rough shape when I planted them, after a night in my trunk. Veeeeery wilty, some dead brown leaves, and the roots seemed very crispy and dry. But I dunno! Strawberries are, in my experience, pretty badass, so I planted them and watered them in, and we’ll see what happens. Thanks, people of the world, for giving me free things. I will try not to destroy them.
I’m also, in case you wondered, the sloooooooow-assed gardener. This is definitely the main reason I am not in commercial horticulture anymore. I really hated having to make a quota of how many grafts an hour. I never, ever hit my goal. Like I made it twice in all the time I was doing it. Today, I veeeeeery sloooooowly weeded what I am calling the garbage can area. It has a nice ring, right? It’s got these two little shrubs that are doing so badly, and those two little shrubs are surrounded by Malva neglecta. Weeding Malva is so demoralizing, because it’s actually really pretty even when it’s just leaves, and then the flowers are sweet too, and also, it’s got one of those stupid fragile taproots that just breaks the second you pull on it, and you know there is no way you are getting it all, and it’s going to come back immediately. Much like that bastard field bindweed that I am constantly battling.
One thing that’s been really nice lately is that my big kid has been actually helping in the garden. Like, not pulling one weed and then wandering away (although that also totally happens), but really sitting down and working, and listening and learning! But it was as we were pulling that Malva that I discovered my new favorite super-identity – The Lopsided Gardener. See, my brain understands science. Pretty well at least. I think because I can get away with understanding big concepts, and connections, and I don’t know, my brain just likes it. I am not so good with disciplines like history. So we were weeding and I was explaining taxonomy to her. She really, really did not get much science in elementary school, which is tragic, so the idea of Genus species was pretty new. So, my poor, poor daughter says to me, “Who speaks Latin anyway?”, and I say, “Oh, nobody anymore, it’s what they call a dead language.” And she says, “Oh, well who did speak it?” and I sat there in increasingly uncomfortable silence, until she says, “The Romans, right?” AND I SWEAR TO GOD I SAID, “No, silly, Rome is in Italy, the Romans spoke Italian.” And my genius child persisted, “But then why did the Romans use all the Latin stuff in Percy Jackson?” and I was beginning to be horrified and thinking, “Wait, was it the Romans? Uhhhh, it was someone…ancient, so like…the Greeks, but they would have obviously spoken Greek….” Until my husband, who is very, very smart and much better educated came out, and luckily he is also very sympathetic so I was able to laugh as if I was not dying inside and say, “Hey, I know this is dumb, but who spoke Latin?” and the poor guy said, “The Romans! Who do you think spoke Latin?!?!?” This all has very little to do with my gardening, but I thought it was funny. Also, literally the very next day I told the same kid that Napoleon was Italian. I think I had Napoleon mixed up with the word Neopolitan. I wish I was kidding. You do not want me on your pub quiz team until it’s Life Sciences Night.
I started this post three days ago and I kept thinking of other “The __________ Gardener” things but I can’t think of any of them now and it’s very sad. I am just now finishing because I’ve been dealing with this “bunny condo” debacle that I won’t even go into, and I only have one picture of the Malva and one of the strawberry pot, so I’m adding a picture of the bunny because she’s cute. Perhaps more people might follow me on Instagram if my pictures were not all of weeds and dying plants? Just a thought.