Beauty is the Mistress, the Gardener Her Slave

I became a senior citizen back in June.  My mind is as sharp as it was when I crested 30, lo these many years ago, and my reflexes are quick (if slightly uncoordinated).  I carry more pounds around than I used to, but I still feel pretty good for a man of my age.

I hear the scoffing already — “There is no way that you can be 65 already” — and you are correct, in the strictest chronological sense.  I have not spent 65 years on the planet, but I know my brain has already sped ahead to the advanced stages of senior citizenship.  How do I know this?  Because I now understand the inexplicable allure of that old fogey pastime, gardening.

When I was a young man watching my grandparents slave away over their home-grown chives, lettuce, tomatoes, swiss chard, radishes, rhubarb, raspberries, plums and peaches (and a bewildering array of flowers), this dirt-stained hobby was beyond comprehension.  Didn’t really get it when I lived in a house north of the city, either.  Sweating in the soil on your hands and knees was for chumps.

But I found religion back in June while volunteering with some folks from The Firm at a nursing home.  One of our tasks there was to help the residents plant enormous elevated flower beds and window boxes.  And during that experience I realised that once you eliminate the “crawling in dirt on your hands and knees” aspect, gardening becomes almost fun.

Being condo-bound now, my wife and I don’t have the option of planting enormous flower and vegetable beds, but we did grab some window boxes and jam them full of flowers and grasses.  And a solar-powered lighting system to illuminate them at night.  Enjoy these shots of a couple of the window boxes at their prettiest, back in late July.

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Just don’t ask me what types of plants these are because I don’t remember.  I was the environmental engineer for the project; I made sure the drainage was good and that the soil conditions were right.  The window boxes were lined with two layers of landscape fabric to prevent soil seepage into the gravel bed, and soil/gravel loss through the drainage holes.  About once a month I’d remember to water and prune the vegetation in the boxes.  It’s really my wife’s daily efforts that made them look this good.

Category: Miscellania
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