Thursday, April 5, 2012

I heart my job

I really do.

Growing up, I was not at all interested in gardening. My father always had a vegetable garden, and he loved growing weird things like kohlrabi and shoepeg corn. My grandmother loved getting her hands dirty; she grew beautiful roses and poppies.

One time as an adult I threw some pot seeds out the back door and ended up transplanting a pretty incredible plant into the basement under a grow light. They call it "weed" because that's how it grows – like a weed.

My third husband was a back-to-the-land wannbe, and we had several raised-bed gardens, but again – they were his, not mine.

I guess it took all this time to meet the right mentors and to be open to the possibility of me actually being a gardener. I started several years ago with perennial beds, and three years ago dug up a large area for vegetables. Two years ago I doubled that space. It's just the right size to provide almost a year's worth of tomatoes, garlic, pickles and green beans for my husband and myself, along with several months' worth of squash, edamame, onions and okra. Oh, and the annual New Year's Day serving of Hoppin' John. (Seriously, black-eyed peas are easy and fun to grow, and I'm willing to "spend" a row of space on them just because they're so cool-looking.)

In the last couple years I've added two more large perennial beds, filled in the planters in front of the house, created an herb bed, planted strawberries and blackberries and am right now looking at three apple trees, all in bloom.

Here's the view from the break "room."
I wouldn't love gardening nearly as much if I weren't working at Groundworks. I'm inspired each time I go in to work. My "office" is a potting bench, with a sea of flowers in front of me and the gentle Greenbrier River flowing behind me. There's something beautiful to look at all the time: new varieties of perennials, unusual and interesting annuals, weird plants I'd never thought about (like the papyrus plant that came home with me over the weekend) and old favorites like baptisia and creeping phlox and hostas.
Papyrus, a likely candidate
for the "thriller" part
of the thriller/filler/spiller
combination in an outdoor
container garden.

And my job is not always about getting my hands dirty. I'm on a mission right now to find or create a daily sales report that will meet their needs. I do advertising and marketing for them. I spruce up their blog and Facebook page, make signs and I've even learned how to use the cash register. I load heavy bags of fertilizer and huge bales of growing mix into pick-up trucks. I water hundreds (maybe thousands, but who's counting?) of trees and plants.

It's a physical job, yet another reason I need to keep working out. Being leaner and stronger can only help me as I help the next customer wrestle a couple of rhododendrons into the trunk of her car.

1 comment:

  1. I loved having a "garden" last year - really just a few plants on my patio. I had it professionally done because it involved removing a couple of small trees and a bunch of shrubs then "landscaping" the "whole" area - about 5 ft. wide on one side and 3 ft. on the other two sides around what's probably a 10x12 ft. slab.

    All winter I've been meaning to call the landscaper to find out what I needed to do in terms of maintenance of the knockout roses and azaleas, but I kept putting it off and now it's "gone wild"...and I'm out of town helping my mom through some medical stuff, so there's no telling what it will be like when I return - whenever that is...

    Before I left, the azaleas were blooming (cool plants called encore azaleas so they bloom both spring and fall!) and the knockout rose bushes were....well, very bushy. But what I really need to figure out is the replacement of my container herb/veggie garden. Do I need to replace the soil entirely, especially since the tomatoes seemed to suffer from some kind of weird disease, or can I just replant etc.

    Plus, the one aspect of gardening that I don't like is the whole dirty hands thing...working in the soil doesn't appeal to me at all - just the results of working in the soil...

    So between not knowing when I'll get back to ATL and my tendency to procrastinate with things I don't know/like to do, there's just no telling what will happen with it.

    But you should know that you were my inspiration to get as far as I did so far with the garden and continue to inspire me to try to do more. In fact, I've bought a book on container gardening that I want to read in the next couple of weeks to see if I can figure it out an get something bigger going this year...just have to get over the whole dirt factor!

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