For those of you unfamiliar, SHDD is a form of dementia typically striking around the end of March, when the combination of sunny days, balmy temperatures and sassy commercial jingles conspire to fill even the brown-thumbed loft dweller with visions of gardening grandeur. The naive Mr. Green Jeans-wanna-be, lured to the lair of the devil, a.k.a. Home Depot Garden Center, is sucked into a kaleidoscope of burgeoning flora promising to transform their winter-weary lives with Spring fecundity. SHDD is characterized by delirium, dissociation from reality, impaired judgment, and a dangerous lack of financial restraint. There is currently no known cure for SHDD, although there are some interesting therapies in development.
This is what actually happens. It’s Saturday. You go to Home Depot with your fiance to buy a toilet flusher repair kit. In your excitement to preview the latest bathroom chandeliers, you run ahead, innocently cutting through the garden center on the way to the lighting aisle.
An hour later, your frantic fiance finds you staring transfixed into a display of Heirloom Pepper plants, a trickle of drool running down your chin, mumbling your grandmother’s chowchow recipe in psychotic litany. Helpless to dissuade you in your maddened and disoriented state, he protestingly loads $200 worth of seedlings into the back of your SUV for a garden you have no land for.
Nice, Home Depot Garden Center. Nice. Your time will come.
This year, girded by wisdom gleaned by hauling $200 worth of dead plants off my balcony, I was able to ward off the Center’s siren song until almost June. Unable to stay off the junk, but unwilling to ride the horticultural horse alone, I finally cajoled my poor fiance into driving to the Home Depot in Smynings with me the other week to “pick up a tomato plant or two.”
Two hours later we returned to David’s house with a pre-fabricated cedar garden box riser, 24-cubic feet of special Miracle Gro enhanced dirt (in contrast to normal dirt, which is free) two Heirloom tomato plants, three Heirloom pepper plants (chowchow time!) basil, thyme, oregano, curly parsley, tarragon, a strawberry plant and a watermelon seedling (couldn’t resist).
Donning gloves and a hat, David quickly cleared a rough patch of land in the backyard, assembled the pre-fab riser, laboriously filled it with the special earth and then carefully placed the seedlings according to each’s light absorption preferences and bio-relative soil conductivity.
Anxious to do my part, I poured a glass of wine and busied myself naming each of our new leafy “kids”: Emily and Cleveland, the tomato plants; Basil, the basil (be sure to use the snotty-sounding British “ah” instead of the hard “a”); Reggie, the Oregano; Tex, the Texas Tarragon; Curly, the Curly Parley, and of course, Charleston Grey III, the watermelon. And no, I didn’t name the pepper plants. That’s silly.
Veggies finally all planted and watered, David and I sat back with the smug satisfaction native to the owners of vast estates and haciendas, purveying our tiny 4′ x 4′ farmstead with proprietary greed and dreaming of what will most likely be the world’s most expensive summer salad.
I might be mental, I might be an addict, but at least I’m not alone.
And Home Depot, you’re still the devil.