I Swear, I Planned This Post on Saturday

It’s so funny that Melissa posted about her yard and gardening yesterday. We did yardwork on Saturday, and I took pictures and composed a blog post in my head as I worked. But then I didn’t get a chance to actually post it on Saturday to my regular blog, which was my intention, and most of the details fled my mind.

But then yesterday, I thought, “Hey it’s my Tuesday at ENALR, I should do the yard post there.” Because you guys haven’t seen it yet. Yeah, I think I post something like this every year. I’ve been blogging too long. I’ve become (more) boring. LOL

Anyway.

As I commented on Melissa’s post yesterday, I’m not a gardener. I hate yardwork and gardening, and yeah, I know they’re not the same thing, really, but they feel equal to me. I had to think about why, because hating it makes me feel lazy. Am I lazy? Do I hate hard work?

Well, no. If I did, I wouldn’t be doing all the things I do. I wouldn’t be a writer. And I’ve had a lot of fun and gotten a lot of pleasure out of physical work. So what do I have a problem with?

Tedium.

Pulling weeds, cleaning gutters, moving mulch, planting, feeding, watering, nurturing… The end result is nice, but not enough to make me want to invest in the tedium. Just like housework, though that’s fully necessary. Yardwork is only partly necessary.

So here are before pictures of my front beds on Saturday:

You can see how lush the hosta and lilies are already, even without much rain. That’s why I love them. I don’t do ANYTHING. My neighbors gave them to me, and I planted them so I wouldn’t waste them (I mean, they’d know if I did!), and they look great. Of course, not in those pictures. Because we’ve got the gray, dismal detritus of last fall.

Here’s what they look like now, after three hours of labor:

That big open area will be full of four o’clocks in a month. Those things take OVER. They were planted before we moved in, and spread like crazy. By July, I’m pulling stalks twice the thickness of my thumb because they’re falling all over the front step and driveway. So there’s another suggestion for a plant that needs nothing. (They’re called four-o’clocks because they bloom late in the day. Ours are red, white, and yellow, small blossoms. Pretty!)

So we already know who loves to garden and who has a black thumb. But how do you guys feel about tedium? Hate it? Accept it? Love the mind-clearing effects of it? Tell us in the comments!

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21 Responses

  1. Oh, wow! What a difference a little, ahem, tedious labor makes!

    I find some tedium soothing. Getting into a rhythm in doing something, like say ironing or vacuuming is something I don’t imind – my mind can wonder and I don’t have to concentrate on the work. I dislike the work that require thought – like cleaning out the closets or organizing my office. I can’t mindlessly do it and therefore can’t plot, daydream or zone out.

    I’m up tomorrow and I think I’ll continue the unintentional theme we have going this week.

    • I’ll admit I do like the mind-clearing that can come from doing tedious stuff. My day job is often rote, and I get lots of ideas then. But I can’t act on them! 😦

  2. I’m with you, Nat. Housework is essential – yard work? Hmmm. Besides my husband’s motto is, “If I can’t mow it, I don’t grow it.” It’s pointless. I have to use what green thumb I have (or don’t have) in patio pots on the back porch. I’ve got tons of Amarylis – beautifully blooming right now. Feed once a year, water, I can live with that.

    Yours look beautiful!

  3. Great minds think alike, Natalie! LOL I too love the work that requires little thought. Although ironing will never ever be something I do unless absolutely necessary. We call the pile, “The Monster.” And it just keeps on growing. LOL Your hard work really paid off. It looks great! What are those beautiful red bushes?

    • Yeah, forget ironing! LOL I never do it. Don’t even have a pile. Husband irons his own shirts every morning.

      The red bushes are azaleas. Love the contrast with the mulch! They don’t bloom very long, though.

  4. Maybe gardeners share a mind set because like Liz, I don’t mind the tedium. I find it soothing for the most part. Its an action I can do without thinking and that usually frees my creative side. On more the one occasion I’ve run from the garden to my computer to write down an idea for a story.

    Now ironing I don’t like. Probably because I have to concentrate. I’ve burned myself too many times. ; )

    Your garden looks beautiful! But I shuddered when you mentioned 4 oclocks. They’re in the same category in my mind as cannas and mint. Namely: weeds. ; ) When I first started gardening, I planted 4 oclocks. I loved them at first, then they took over everything, every other plant died. It took me a year of constant picking to get rid of them. Cannas smothered my Japanese irises and I’m still battling the mint that was the only thing growing in several beds at this house when we moved in. To me, the work is not worth the flower. ; )

    • I knew somebody was going to call them weeds. LOL The correct term is “wildflowers.” LOL

      I might have to get some mint to put where the four-o’clocks don’t grow. I don’t mind pulling extras. Far easier than weeding the true weeds!

  5. This post is hysterical. Why? I did seven hours of yardwork on Friday AND I kept thinking…I should do a post on yard work? I kept telling myself to go inside and get my camera but being the lazy sort, I didn’t. I was going to take pictures of all the weeds I pulled, the leaves I raked up, etc. Isn’t that funny? Great minds and all that.

    Your bed look fab, darlin’ Good job. Can you come to my house and finish what I started?

    • HA! I love it! It’s logical that we’re all thinking that, though. It’s that time of year, and we all need topics. πŸ™‚

      And, ah, no. Thank you. I’m done for the year!

  6. Great topic, Nat! I despise tedium. I will spend hours coming up with a way to automate a twenty minute chore that’s boring. I’m not afraid of hard work, but I hate being bored. In fact, I’ve often said that laziness drives me to find more efficient ways of doing things, but really, it’s probably my loathing of monotony.

    I did yard work last weekend too, but I had to force myself to do it. It’s better once I get out there, but I need music or something. I love hostas because they’re easy (except in California the snails ate them) and I can divide them to make more, so cheap too! For sunny spots, cannas work great and can also be divided when they get too thick.

    Our azaleas are looking amazing right now, no thanks to me, since I always put off cutting them back and then it’s too late because they have buds…

    • I will spend hours coming up with a way to automate a twenty minute chore that’s boring

      OMG, yes. That’s me, too! (Raise your hand if you’re surprised.) Boredom is the bane of my existence. My husband usually calls it a lack of patience, but it’s definitely hatred of boredom.

      I usually listen to podcasts while I do these kinds of things, but it’s the NFL offseason so my ‘casts are limited and I didn’t want to use them up. That made the task worse.

  7. I’m terrible at yard work, but I love a nice clean yard! And I love the way fresh mulch looks! Great job, nice photos!

  8. Thank you everyone for saying my yard looks nice! πŸ™‚

  9. I have always enjoyed yard work. It is one of the few things that you can tell you actually did something when you are finished. It is rather therapeutic. You can let your mind wander,make plans, think up stories, whatever. Unfortunately, I now have arthritis in my knees and lower back which makes it a bit harder, but I still love it.

    • Pat, I do like the results, for sure. And they stay nice a *little* bit longer than a clean house does. That’s, like, 30 seconds, max. LOL

      I’m sorry about the arthritis! 😦

  10. uh, no. got no love for the tedium. I love the planting. I love preparing the rows and all that business. I love picking the veggies!

    I HATE PULLING THE WEEDS AND KEEPING IT CLEAN.

    hate hate hate!

    Did I mention I hate that part? It’s just….tedious.

    • I like having veggies to pick, but not enough to do the planting and everything. And weeding is a PITA, except for stuff like ragweed and nightshade. Those pull out easily, and are actually fun! Wild strawberry is our most prolific weed, though, and it’s insidious and impossible to clear out. I always consider just letting take over and calling it groundcover.

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