Here’s another Canadian first for me. Yesterday, I actually did some gardening in a small fenced in area, about 8’ x 7’, in our front yard. I will mark this event as a milestone: Me gardening at midlife!
I had been thinking about gardening, but what pushed me to actually do it was helping a dear friend weed her big backyard last Saturday. In doing so, I learned a few things about weeding.
“It’s just a matter of pulling, right?” I asked my friend.
“No, you have to dig. Otherwise you might leave the roots and the weeds will easily grow back,” she said.
She gave me a pair of gardening gloves, a trowel, and a stool, then led me to the backyard to show me where to start.
“Okay, which ones are the weeds?” I asked.
My friend laughed out loud, surprised by my ignorance. Frankly, I can’t always tell weeds from plants here in Canada. In our first house just weeks after our landing, I was very happy when flowers started blooming around our yard that first spring. One day, our landlord came by and asked why I wasn’t pulling a weed that had grown so tall beside our front door. “Oh, I didn’t know that was a weed…” (I know a Filipino, also new to Canada, who borrowed a vehicle and filled the trunk with dandelions for potting later. Hilarious!)
“These here are weeds, these are plants…” my friend began to orient me around.
“Are those weeds?” I pointed to a cluster.
“No, those are plants.”
“Are those weeds?” I pointed to another cluster.
“No, those are plants. These are weeds.” Realizing that her plants were in danger of being prematurely pulled from the ground, my friend led me to a big vegetable plot at the farther end of the yard.
“Okay, everything here is a weed,” she said.
I spent about two hours crouched in the garden. The scent of the grass and the soil brought happy thoughts I couldn’t exactly pinpoint from where or what. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.
Encouraged by this pleasant experience, I decided to work on my own hideous front yard and apply what I just learned. I was sure that everything in my yard was either a weed or trash so no worries about taking out something I shouldn't. It took me about three hours to clean the tiny space. I can't remember ever pulling so many weeds in one sitting. But surprisingly, I enjoyed it.
I was very pleased with what I had accomplished. How come I never liked gardening before? I wondered. I think I had the answer while washing my hands and they started itching. I recalled having badly infected eczema on my hands growing up in the Philippines. That was probably why I avoided getting my hands soiled--literally.
Here in Canada, it is wonderful to see flowers, vegetables and fruit trees start to grow in abundance around this time of year. I thought maybe it’s not too late to take up gardening as a hobby. I might yet discover my green thumb beneath my brown one. Besides, my eczema has not bothered me in a long time. I think I've outgrown it.
I will start planting some vegetables and herbs this week. Hopefully, I will remember to water them.