I hope I learned my lesson.

Last week I took some time to dig weeds out of my front yard flower beds. Just getting my hands in the dirt gave me visions of trailing butternut squash vines and sunflowers turning their sunny faces to the summer sky. Somehow I missed the other part of the picture that must come earlier in the sequence of events: me jumping on the shovel and sweating in the midday heat, kneeling over my tomato holes that had been custom-filled with various composts and manures and topsoils lugged home in bags from Home Depot.


Before that hard work began, however, my first visions were expanded when I visited the plant sale I love, which happened almost the next day. Mrs. Bread went along with me and I came home with more kinds of plants than I had originally planned. Ha! No surprise, is that?

P1130201The timing of the sale seemed so convenient, but now as I think about it, it was unwise of me to buy plants before preparing the soil. It was the end of April and everything seemed urgent, especially once the baby plants were in my line of vision and begging to get out of their little pots. The pressure was on to make places for them, and I had to go against all good sense and nearly sacrifice myself trying to make good on my investment.

Yes, in my heart I do still know how to be a gardener. But in the flesh? My body is sending messages that we needed some help with the grunt work and I better never do that kind of thing again. Tonight I can barely walk, and am typing while soaking my feet, poor tender feet that were trying to make do with a shovel when I needed a post-hole digger. All the joints and sinews and head and muscles are crying, “Enough! More than enough!”

mystery salvia plant-1
my mystery salvia – mystery solved

This unusual degree of pain and suffering is a result of trying to do too many things in one summer. I should have just said, “This summer I want to take out the swimming pool. Next summer I can have a garden.” But oh, no, I have to do both. If the back yard is likely to become unavailable, I’ll just use the lawn area in the front (which was supposed to die last summer, but didn’t). If I had done as a widow woman should, and consulted with someone, anyone, before forging ahead, they might have reminded mP1130199e that I could buy very nice tomatoes at the farmers’ market, and that breaking sod is something one does with a plow.

Well, live and learn. I hope my plantings are successful, but even if they aren’t, a couple of good things have come from my recent escapades. I bought a cute little Garden Dump Cart today to haul things around the property. And when we were at the plant sale, I saw a salvia that strongly resembled my mystery salvia that I wrote about in this post. I took a picture of it and after researching at home I think it must truly be Indigo Woodland Sage. How satisfying to finally know the name of the stalwart perennial that graces my world.

The best thing about the plant sale day was not the vast nursery offerings we meandered through, but getting to tour around Mr. and Mrs. Bread’s beautiful and homey garden. And when we got back from the sale she cut our 6-packs of dill, cutting celery and Titan sunflowers in two, so we could share.


At 9:00 p.m., it’s still 70° on my patio, and I have the windows open. I will feel better tomorrow, after a good sleep. Now there is nothing else making me hurry, and  I plan to slow down again and enjoy the springtime. Happy May!

11 thoughts on “I hope I learned my lesson.

  1. We gardeners almost always take on too much. Our gardening eyes are bigger than what we can comfortably handle (we dream, we see, we buy, we work), but the rewards, after we recuperate, are well worth our efforts.

    Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady


  2. Happy May to you too, dear Gretchen! I am so glad to read about your garden and your gardening enthusiasm, even your gardener’s April exhaustion! Sounds like you are expanding your garden to the front yard — Good for you! It is excellent therapy, isn’t it? My own garden is needing to be scaled back. I have made it bigger and bigger, to the point that I cannot stay on top of the weeds … I did get our local landscaper/neighbor to bring over a couple of his guys and spread mulch everywhere. A huge help. Wrens and chickadees are using the birdhouses enthusiastically — one family has already left the nest! We have had two salads from the garden already — kale and lettuce that survived the winter, new sorrel and chives. And asparagus!! Not a lot, just enough for two. So yummy! Peas and beans and broccoli, garlic and swiss chard, beets and radishes are all growing.

    XXOO N.


  3. Oh the energetic signs of spring! I am so like that! It’s a good thing we don’t keep that excitement going all summer long or we’d be pooped! So nice to share those 6 packs. You can get more variety that way when you share. Happy May back at ya!


  4. You tell a comical story.  I hope that your gardening muscles are not too sore.It seemed like a golden opportunity.  Mara and I went to the nursery yesterday,and probably over did it.  God bless you and all that you do.  Love, Christie


  5. Well, my friend, I hope you’re recovering from your overexertion. I smiled at your realization afterwards that maybe someone else’s muscles and tools and possibly equipment with a motor in them might be better suited. Many good wishes for great results from your gardening endeavors.


  6. Don’t be too hard on yourself! We all do stuff like this! I do hope you have a lovely garden and sometimes one just needs to garden, it’s good for the soul. Much love and we are still praying for you. Be gentle with yourself ~ this may include letting yourself learn what you can do by trial and error; much better to try to do too much (or so I think) than to be afraid to try new things or let things pass us by. I hope the pain is gone soon from the over exertion; asking for help of course is always good. I woke up this morning wondering why I had some muscle pain and then remembered how I carried all those groceries up in 1 go instead of two trips… but the pain will go soon and it’s OK . … 🙂 (((HUGS)))


  7. I do hope you aren’t as sore today. There is just something nice about working in the dirt and planting flowers. I never can just relax around the pool, I always think it is more fun to pull weeds.
    I am so happy for you.


  8. I am so sorry that you are sore today and I hope you took it easy. It IS fun to do a little bit every day instead of trying to do too much in a few days. Now I can dabble and I’m thankful. I would never try to do the big earth-breaking tasks that you do so willingly, GJ! I am kind of sad about the pool. I haven’t come to visit you yet and I wanted to float around in it. Smile.
    Thinking of you. Praying for you. I like Mrs. Bread (J). She’s nice.


  9. Well…after all that exertion I hope those little plants are grateful enough to do something! Now maybe you can slow down and putter for the rest of the summer? Enjoy your garden. 🙂


  10. Within the first few weeks of Bob passing I felt I had to move, that I had to reorganize everything.. The greatest counsel I got was to take one solid year to make any change or take on any giant project.

    It’s now 9 mos 3 days ago. I feel anxiety periodically. But….

    G/J take a year. The pool can wait. Believe me when I say that your heart will break if even one of those seedlings dies. You are in drought. Take walks, enjoy the plantings God has planted. Take a water exercise class. Please don’t hurt yourself. You are loved.


  11. Oh dear, this is why I am picking smaller and smaller square footage to approach and tend to at a time. Sometimes I use the one small bucket approach when weeding. Sometimes I set a little goal as in, from this flower to that rock, or two square feet and that’s it. And sometimes I use the weed specific approach deciding that I will stroll around looking for pickle weed, foxtails, or dandelions only. Other times I go for whoever is tallest. Sometimes I set a time…weed for five minutes and then just water. And now the hammock is hung more gracefully and I am planning on enjoying the beauty and embracing the much that is not yet done.

    If some strong, kindly lady would set up a garden lady’s massage service, she would probably never lack for customers…especially if we could pay her with roses and veggies.


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