NaBloPoMo Day 10: Dirt Redux; Redux

I was hanging with some girlfriends for brunch on Sunday and they asked about the whole “writing” thing I’ve been up to lately. I think they might have been contemplating an intervention if they determined I’d been populating a belfry through my recent blog-a-thon. 

Yes, I am posting every day, I just never promised it would all be good.  I also never promised it would all be writing. 

Anyhow, the girls and I discussed the difficulty of daily writing and inspiration and time constraints and one of these “angels,” and (yes, I’m not afraid of that word because she totally saved me at the moment) one of the ANGELS said, “OOOhhhhhh, will you re-post that thing you wrote about Home Depot – that was funny!”

Yes, I can re-post something I wrote a while back. I seem to have nothing else to say today and everyone must be tired of the pictures by now.

Dirt, Redux
(originally published June 6, 2012 which is 815.7 years ago in blog-years.)


Last year around this time, I wrote the first post about my losing battle with SHDD, Seasonal Home Depot Disorder.

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.

Playing in the Dirt

Damn you, Home Depot Garden Center. Damn you.

Sunday afternoon, David and I went to the Home Depot Supercenter near his house. He needed to pick up a few plants to replace ones that didn’t make it through the winter, and I needed to buy a universal remote for my garage door. Really. Just a garage remote.

How does Home Depot do it? I don’t even really like plants, but walking into the garden center, surrounded by all the lush, tropical foliage, I morph into Mr. Green Jeans from Captain Kangaroo (obscure, self-dating reference to 1970s children’s TV show). I become overwhelmed with the desire for snapdragons and marigolds. It’s magpie syndrome full force, but instead of Shiny! Bright! Flashy! Must Have!, it’s Daisies! Marigolds! Orchids! COVET!

Walking down the aisles of plants and flowers, visions dance in my brain of plucking vine ripened tomatoes, sweet peppers and basil from the terrace. Images of summer sunsets frame themselves with flowering vines and hanging baskets rife with vivid blooms. Do they mist something besides water and pesticide into the air?

Let’s get real. I once killed an Air Fern. (I watered it.) What am I thinking?

New plants!

The hallucinogenic drugs do their trick: thirty minutes and $50 later, I’m leaving Home Depot – the Plant Devil – with a 30 lb bag of potting soil, 3 new pots, two heirloom tomato plants, marigolds (the ones with the little lion faces, my favorites!) and deep black purple petunias. Oh, yeah, and a garage remote.

Back at the condo, I dig out my grandmother’s sterling soup spoon (yeah, garden tools just don’t hold the same excitement) and get to work. Somehow or another, I end up with more dirt on me and the terrace, but they’re all planted. I even found an ancient box of Miracle Grow to dose their first drink.

Lion'golds, tomatoes and bears, oh my!

Looking around my freshly planted terrace, I feel both a smug sense of satisfaction and a deep fear that I’ll somehow let them down, forget to water them, somehow fail as a “plant momma.” Sad, really.

But as I walk in the house, I see that both my African Violet and my Christmas cactus, (both given up for dead, even though I had replanted them in larger pots several weeks ago and have actually remembered to water them since) have buds, flowers and new growth. Maybe I’m not a lost cause, after all.

the new "garden"

Hmmm. Maybe I’ll go back to Home Depot for that tomatillo plant. Then we could make salsa verde.

African Violet Resurrected!