Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
How do you do it?
I think ordering seeds/plants in the dead of winter
can really be a challenge. "One" wants everything--
or at least I do. Well, did. Luckily, my choices this year are limited to
catalogs [catalogues?] that I got unsolicited in the
mail. I was too preoccupied to make the effort to
have specially ordered any. Dead-tree catalogs are
endangered anyhow, I imagine. So, as you can see, I have no
truly exotic wishbooks. "The Prosaic Gardener" I guess is the real
name of this blog. ("The Fraudulent Gardener"? "A
Person Who Claims To Be A Gardener But Who Is
No Such Thing"? Ah, but that's another post.) This
year I am dying for Nigellas and Astrantias, the latest
objects of my plant lust, thanks to 5 giddi-fying weeks in London
last summer. I'm sure everyone has a unique way to
tackle their own pile of catalogs, but for the heck of it all, here
is mine. First, and especially if the weather has been
especially cold and nasty, I will flip through a few saved
copies of garden mags just to get into the mood. Oh?
Spring will come again? Prove it. So, I go looking for
pretty spring and summer pictures to buoy the optimism
tucked into the seed catalog pages. I don't consult my own
garden records about What Did Well, or What I'll Need Next
Year, as I don't keep records anymore. Baaaad gardener.
I'm cranky and lazy, and I think at this point this year, I just
want what I want. [Let's get really cutesy: "The trowel wants
what it wants."---Woody Allen's gardener. ] Besides, who's looking? Who's
judging? Who's this garden for, anyhow? My ambition boils down to having
hand-picked bouquets of the flowers I adore, with the added fun of
having grown 'em myself. I've already been thinking that the theme
of my small patch of earth is really "An Abandoned Garden" or
"A Meager But Satisfying Cutting Garden," both of which signify there really isn't much designing going on. I'm getting over that I don't have "New Dawn"coiled around my door. I'll settle for some peonies and nicotianas
and the other stuff easy enough for a dolt like me to produce.
Ok, after paying Lucy her 5 cents, into the pages I escape.
Flip through every page. Oh, yeah, I DO like those, I forgot! Oh,
HERE those are! Etc, etc. One's cheeks flush! One must restrain
oneself! If I wore a bodice, these catalogs surely could be rippers.
Then I start with the scribbled notations, a scrap of paper
for each catalog I'm going through, so I can quickly glance and compare
them, scrutinizing for prices and shipping rates. As I begin filling out the forms,
noting the totals, I feel ungodly shame that a pastime so close to
nature is asking me to pony up so much dough today. My fault; I'm
not dividing and swapping, collecting and sharing seeds, plant-hunting or even surreptitiously scissoring shoots
from famous gardens, which I hear sweet little old ladies in Britain do.
Later, if I get the nerve [as of this writing, I haven't yet!] I fax the orders in.
No stamp, no time-consuming vocalizing of the the order. Done and done,
before I can lose my nerve. Then I wait, with stars in my eyes. Oh,
and go look in the basement for the shop lights, chains and S-hooks.