June 18, 2018
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Toiling away in the garden of evil

By Emmet Meara, Special to the News

It appears to be an evil plot. Almost as soon as the snow finally melts, the black flies come out. Then, Blue Eyes starts talking about — gardening.

I am basically a city kid, even though I have been gone for four decades. But I still belong in a nice apartment, with a pool, no grass and certainly no garden.

I have a perfectly fertilized garden plot that has become the home of 3-foot weeds and 2-year-old, decrepit tomato plants. The excuse is that last year was such a loser that no garden could survive.

Now that the weather is taking a turn toward the nice, Blue Eyes is making plans. She is always making plans and making lists — for me. She says that tomatoes would be nice and some petunias and some green beans and maybe some carrots.

I don’t think so.

If gardening consisted of planting the damned things and then harvesting the fruit and vegetables three months later, that would be fine. But the interim is spent in my least-favorite activity this side of scraping ice-encrusted windshields. We call it weeding. Sort of like joining a chain gang.

It usually is done on 70-year-old knees in 80-degree heat in a heavy sweat, all the better to attract black flies that seem to like my eyes the best. I can’t see 12 inches without glasses, which are covered with sweat, then knocked off in a vain attempt to kill a squadron of kamikaze black flies. Then the glasses end up sweaty and muddy, sitting in the dirt.

What fun.

I keep reminding the list-maker that tomatoes are sold in bags at Hannaford or at Farmers Fare in Rockport, if you are a trust fund baby. They also have aisles full of green beans, onions, you name it.

Forget gardening.

I am not alone.

Let’s explore the famous Archer who blogged:

“What they don’t tell you (just in case you’re lucky enough to have never tried gardening yourself) is that gardening stinks. It is cruel, pointless, thankless, injurious labor that likely as not will hospitalize you with fluid-filled lungs, a sprained ankle, and an extruded L5-S1 impinging disc herniation. Also all your plants will die, unless you live in someplace like Kansas or Saskatchewan, in which case you don’t need a garden in the first place.”

I rest my case.

Let’s explore further, at the Amplicate website. These are kindred spirits.

MCStacey said, “Turns out I’m not as green as I thought I was. I hate gardening and my hay fever is back for revenge.” Dirtyhoe added, “Sore all over. Hate gardening. I am allergic to the sun.” BrenDelicious moaned, “I hate gardening and lawn mowing.”

These are my people.

But my new best friend is Heather Zwicker of Edmonton, where the growing season is about eight days long. I think I love her.

She blogged: “But as for gardening itself? I detest it with a passion rare. My hatred is visceral, emotional and unequivocal. I loathe it with every fibre in my being — and that’s saying something, since when I garden I actually feel every fibre in my being. My knees hurt. My feet cramp. My back aches. My neck hurts from the inevitable sunburn. Sweat runs into pools at the bottom of my glasses, which then slide down my nose so I can’t see anything. Dead branches macerate my legs and splinter my hands, usually right on top of the raking blisters. Mosquitoes torment me.”

I am not alone.

None of this matters, of course.

I have to go to Wal-Mart now. Blue Eyes has, as usual, ignored my complaints about gardening. She has decreed that I must buy gardening supplies including bags of peat moss, garden soil, humus (which I thought came in a sandwich) and cow manure.

Cow manure? I am looking at real estate ads, under “apartments.”

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