15 Thoughts on Planting 30 Flowers
(with apologies to serious gardeners and to my ancestors who tilled the soil in order to eat)
1) I am posting notice that effective this past Sunday afternoon we have ended our run as the Shame of the Cul-de-Sac. Thank you for your patience, dear and not-so-dear neighbors, in having to view the large, dead corpses of Last Year’s Plants all this Spring and most of this Summer.
2) I, Douglas Imbrogno, being momentarily of sound back and relatively sound mind, have this weekend planted in place of said corpses, a fairly measly but nonetheless heartening (to us) collection of 30 or so orange and yellow African marigolds and gazanias near the porch, plus some Russian Sage near the mailbox.
3) ‘Gazania’ is a very fun word to say. Say it after me: ‘gazania,’ ‘gazania,’ ‘gazania…’
4) Gazania may also be my new word to describe feeling crazy. Or in Sunday’s case, wiped out and sweat-crazed from planting 30 flowers on one of the hottest days of the years. As in, “Man,I am feeling so gazania today.” Or: “I think she’s just plain gazania.” Or: “He’s a fecking gazaniac!”
5) It has been more than a year since I worked in the garden on a hot summer’s day (to be accurate, the place that would be a garden would I be working in it). I have this observation to make after turning our would-be garden into a sorta garden on a day so hot even sheepdogs need sunscreen: There is a lot of sweat in one face. Where does it all come from?
6) I would like to apologize for the ‘sheep dog/sunscreen’ line. This came from a Google search on the phrase “how hot was it?” The pickings were slim and I almost went with “It was so hot my neighbor’s sunflowers were holding parasols.” In my defense, I actually do have a neighbor with a sheepdog.
7) Russian Sage. I am thinking of renaming myself Russian Sage. Wouldn’t that be a cool pen name? ‘This new work, “My Gardening Life” by Russian Sage, is both evocative and powerful, a book that could change your life. Russian Sage is a treasure …’
8) The aroma of Russian Sage — warm, spicy, rich — instantly transported me to Eastern Oregon, where I attended last year’s Fishtrap writer’s conference and where the air on your way into and out of Joseph, Oregon, smells of sage. So, standing at Home Depot’s nursery on Sunday afternoon, I was not really there for five minutes. I was here. Excuse me, while I head to the mailbox and smell it again.
10) Soil is really dirty. Or, I suppose it would be more correct to say, dirt is really soily.
11) It has been awhile since my hands were this dirty. Hey, no judging. I’ve been busy tilling the Fields of Language, and oiling sentences on the assembly line at The Paragraph Factory. My Grandpa Eugene’s hands looked like this after he came in from dealing with his tomatoes, zucchinis and peppers. Have I lost my connection with The Land & The Soil?
12) The Land & Soil is a lot of work. In truth, it would be nice to have a manservant to work it when I am feeling a bit too gazania from life, with me occasionally sniffing the Russian Sage and pointing out where the African marigolds might look best.
13) BTW, a bunch of African marigolds smells a lot like a bunch of weed. Not that, mind you, I have ever in my life smelled a bunch of weed. But I have read evocative descriptions.
14) Most of you, my dear and not-so-dear neighbors, are planting geniuses with, like, masters degrees in Green Thumbery. I take solace in the fact that you probably don’t have blogs where you can write about your pathetic attempts at pseudo-gardening. Because you are, like … in your gardens. I peek out sometimes from behind the scrim of my MacBook Pro to see what you are up to. Is that a rain barrel? Are her amazing sunflowers as tall as elephants holding parasols? I’ll bet they don’t know how to Photoshop their Russian Sage like I know how to Photoshop my Russian Sage.
15) I am going to slink inside now and wash off all this dirty soil. You are all welcome to smell the sage.