Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 5, 2014

Time to have a garden or not?

by JAMIE NULL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — I spent all day Sunday in the front yard, tugging and pulling at weeds and decade-old daffodils. For weeks, my husband has been threatening to mow the flowers and weeds down if I didn’t try to sort through the tangles of green in the flower beds. I wanted to save the tiny yellow faces of spring. But mid-way through my task, I realized it was almost impossible to sort through the overgrown flower beds. It all had to go. So with a determined stance, I started yanking and pulling, thinking yard work was another one of the duties of home ownership. Most of the daffodils and tulips didn’t bloom at all. They pushed through the ground, but without a pretty bloom, it simply looked messy. No wonder my husband thought they were weeds. Some of the bulbs were buried deep in the ground. I figured a lot of them were old as me, which would explain their deep roots. I tugged and pulled until my shoulders started to ache. With a hoe from the garden shed, I kept going until the beds were clean. Now it is ready for new flowers and a 4-year-old girl with her own Dora the Explorer gardening tools.



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Our house has a great backyard, fenced in and big enough for a swing set, a game of tag and more. It also has a long, wide garden or flower bed on one side and a raised bed in the corner. An old clothesline runs down the middle. The small patio is perfect for relaxing in the evening. I love it, except for one small problem. I am not a gardener. I have no idea what to do with a garden that big. I do remember my grandma’s garden. A neighbor would come over and till the ground. I walked down the row, dropping green beans into the holes. Then, my mom and dad attempted a garden once or twice. It didn’t work out so well. We harvested a few things, mainly cucumbers and tomatoes. There is nothing better than a tomato out of the garden. This I know, as should every resident in the two Virginias, unless you don’t like tomatoes. But basically, everything taste better out of a garden.



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In the evenings, still in my work clothes, I stare out the kitchen window at the back yard. The forgotten garden is an eye sore. I need to work in the back yard. No more plants are there, just weeds and boards lining the area. Once it is cleaned, we will have to decide whether to plant grass or grow a garden. In the old days, a garden would have been the obvious choice. Households lived off their gardens in the summer and canned fruits and vegetables for the winter. It saved them money and filled the table. Now most people enjoy their garden as a hobby, share their produce with friends and family or live too far away from grocery stores. Plus, a lot of folks want to grow their own food for personal reasons.



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You can’t meet a garden halfway or make a compromise with a row of green beans. You have to care for a garden to get results or else you waste your time. Today, my work schedule, along with my husband, leaves little time for gardens. Life is busy. My husband, who has more experience with gardens, would like to grow a small garden. A few tomatoes plants? Sure. The promise of a ripe, juice tomato in July is more than enough motivation. I can plant tomatoes in a bucket and sit them on the patio. As for the rest of the garden, I need  more convincing and a few days rest. I am still sore from Sunday’s garden work.



Jamie Null is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at jnull@bdtonline.com or on Twitter @BDTParsell.