I enjoy gardening, but I’m not the sort of gardener who nurtures each delicate rose bush and tender shrub. I’m too busy. I do enough nurturing in my life – I take care of my family, my house, my dogs, my job and my writing. The plants in my garden need to fend for themselves. They have one season to prove they’re worth keeping or they’re gone.
That’s right. If they don’t thrive on their own, without my help, I yank them up by the roots and toss them in the compost.
I’m sure I sound like a heartless monster, but I have no patience with plants that need coddling. Or people, for that matter. It’s not so easy to weed out the high maintenance people in your life, but in the garden, it’s easy. One sharp tug, and it’s over.
There are two bushes at the front of my house that take first prize for being the toughest plant. Situated under the eaves trough, they get no rain. They face north, so they get no sun, either. But year after year, they bloom as though they were spoiled and coddled every day. They’re called Annabelle Hydrangeas, and I recommend them for anyone without a green thumb. One winter I ran over them with the snow blower and they came up the following spring just as always. They’re difficult to kill.
What I know about gardening I learned from my mother, who taught me that the more ruthless you are with plants, the more they love it. I hacked my wild rose bushes mercilessly one day in early March, and I swear they had twice the number of blossoms on them that summer. We had a weigelia bush in front of our cottage that my father loved to chop right to the ground. It grew faithfully every year, and was never attacked by any bugs.
My kind of plants. Tough as nails, without any need of pampering.