Monday, March 16, 2009

While working from home today I took a break during lunch to prune our herb garden in the front yard. I think I did okay but I have a problem. Two really.

The first problem is that honest to God I cannot tell the difference between most herbs and weeds. To be even more honest I usually can’t tell the different herbs apart which is embarrassing. For example, when we use herbs in recipes and Su asks me to go outside and get a snip of sage or basil or whatever I usually struggle. Then she’ll tell me again what it looks like and kindly remind me that we have little signs next to each one that say what they are. See, this is why I love her. (One exception is that I know rosemary. It's my only certainty in garden life.)

Susanne is a gardener. She is, I think, most at peace and happy when she is outside working in the rich earth. She loves it and can make anything grow. If the weather hadn’t been so miserable this weekend she would have pruned, but instead I thought I’d volunteer to get out there today so we can focus next weekend on the cool raised beds we are going to create to expand our vegetable garden in the back.

So I mentioned I have two problems with the whole pruning thing. Yes, it’s scary to guess which things are weeds and what should go and which are actually good plants that should stay. But my second problem goes back to a story that’s minor folklore in my family.

Apparently when I was around 8 or my dad was going to replace a broken part of a bedroom wall. It needed a new sheet of sheetrock and he’d set to work pounding out the broken bits of plaster to begin the repair. Now dad wasn’t much into these home repair kinds of things so soon enough he stopped to take a nap. Eight year old me thought that pounding out the broken plaster was great fun, and I thought I’d help while he was napping. I pounded and pounded and remember being so excited to see how happy dad would be when he’d seen what I’d done. (Dad could sleep though anything so he had no idea what I was up to.)

Anyway as it turned out the other three walls in the room were perfectly fine. “Were” is the operative word here. They all now had dozens of hammer holes in them.

Needless to say it was not a good day for me (or my dad apparently). My soaring confidence was crushed and I think from that day forward I’ve always been a little afraid of accidentally taking out more than I should.

So I pruned today, but I couldn’t cut everything out even though I think I maybe should have. Funny how things that happened so long ago can still affect you so much. I definitely got punished for wrecking all the walls, but the punishment isn’t what has stayed with me. It’s the fear that whenever I think I’ve done a good job on something it's is almost always tempered by that little tiny voice that says “that’s what you think Monica”.

So, I hope that the pruning was okay. I know that Susanne won’t be mad if she needs to trim a bit more. It’s a lot easier to trim a bit more than to make herbs magically grow again if they’ve been inadvertently destroyed. Just my thought for a grey and cold afternoon. -Monica

1 comment:

Rose O'Sullivan said...

If you tug at the plant and comes out easily, it's a plant.
If you tug at it and it's hard to get it out, it's a weed :-)