July 12, 2010

The Art of Accidental Gardening

I hate the expression       "I'm not afraid of a little hard work"        because, well, frankly, I am.  A little or a lot of work.  I just don't like it.  I may not have the time or constitution for it.  Especially on top of all of the other "little hard works" there are in the day to day of life at home and in the garden.   And if I don't like doing something the first time, I sure as heck don't like it the second, third or fourth time.  Even though I love gardening, there is always something more pleasant and less back-breaking to do than transplanting a prickly shrub or top-dressing the border with manure.  Like just walking around looking at it with a cup of coffee in your hand for instance.   I mean, really.

That's how I feel about all of the ongoing clean up and toil (I love that word) created by the hailstorm and flood.  Not to mention our run-of-the-mill hot, sticky, and buggy July weather that comes with its own list of tedious to-do's for us gardeners. You, see, I am basically a very lazy person, given to slovenly, unproductive behavior.  Lying about reading books and magazines, watching old black and white movies while twisting my hair, your basic wool-gathering kind of stuff is always a temptation for me.  The only reason I get anything done is because I am constantly warding off laziness.  I have to trick myself into being productive.  I have to engage in the Art of Accidental Gardening.    

It works kind of like this. See this beautiful columnar laurel in a pot?  where it had happily lived for over four years?

Well, after the storm, it looked like this:


So after further decline in the next couple weeks, it became apparent it needed to be replaced, along with a number of other structural evergreens I had strategically placed around my little yard.  A lot of them needed replacing, and I had been dreading the heavy, dirty work of it all...........you see, like so many things in life, I had long since taken these "bones" of my garden for granted, and I missed them.  Terribly.

Anyway, one typically unmotivated morning, I decided to replace just the one laurel.  Then I could
move inside to the a/c and more comfortable, less taxing work (like laundry folding, or getting the mail).
Well, after emptying the pot of its rancid muck (the drainage hole had finally clogged up in the flood),
I started the process of replanting.  I remembered the two large bags of shredded newspaper I had
stashed in my small tool shed.... just perfect for taking up space in a large container, saving pricey potting
soil and making the pot lighter.

So after the filling and planting of this big concrete container, I realized that using the shredded newspaper had freed up the floor of the tool shed, which I could then more easily sweep out and clear, leaving me space to move in the rakes, etc (see diagram 1.0)

                                                                  Diagram 1.0

which then cleared up this surface for sweeping, which then motivated me to clean off the potting bench............you see where this domino schtick is taking me.  Before I knew it, three hours had passed, and I had accidentally gotten quite a bit of work done!  Without premeditation or gardening mojo.  It just kind of happened.  Quite by accident and without thinking...........or discipline.  (Though some would say I was in the ZONE, I just think it was accidental.)

If you have held in here with me and read this whole whining diatribe, then I should reward you.

Tomorrow I will show you what I planted in the dead laurel pot.  I want to see if you approve.  :)


  1. Driving around OKC I have seen the hail damage on cars and businesses but I had not seen the damage in any ones yard. How horrible! Reminds me of the ice storm we had in 2007. I am looking forward to seeing the pot tomorrow and how you rebuild your beautiful yard.

  2. I, too am a very lazy person, given to slovenly, unproductive behavior. I can be busy and get absolutely NOTHING done! Living in Norman we missed the hail storm, thank goodness, but we are still replacing plants and bushes that were wiped out in the '07 ice storm. It is so funny that you wrote about being an accidental gardener, I was thinking of that phrase this last weekend and how my flowers and plants grow, quite by accident. I have long forgotten the names of many of them and always am quite surprised to see the plants reappear in the spring. Why some grow back and some don't make it always makes me wonder. Can't wait to see what you plant in the planter.

  3. Yes, kclily and dorabee! This hail storm reminded
    me entirely too much of the '07 ice storm. Maybe sometime I'll post some of those pics just to get us really upset again!

  4. I was in a hurry to plant things in a large pot, but discovered to my dismay that I didn't have enough potting soil. Rather than stop what I was doing and going to the garden center to purchase more soil, I "cheated" by filling the bottom half of the pot with wadded-up sheets of plastic bubble wrap. Worked great! Lightweight, will never rot, and should I ever change my mind, it will be simple to remove, unlike plastic peanuts, which would work equally as well, but would be a messy nightmare to get rid of. I admire your beautiful blog, Linda. It radiates from a loving heart.


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