Yesterday the weather was beautiful in Columbus. Conditions were perfect for planting flowers in the beds around our patio, and I was itching to buy a few flats and get some dirt under my fingernails.
I went to the new garden store in the neighborhood and purchased four flats — red Salvia, orange Marigold, yellow Zinnia, and “ice cream banana” Celosia. I wanted to try to create a kind of color and size pattern. I would plant the taller, fireapple red Salvia at the rear of the beds against our shrubbery, and then add rows of the progressively lighter and shorter Marigolds, then Zinnias, and finally Celosias. As the same time, I would create pots for the front front steps and backyard.
It felt great to get out the garden shovel and potting soil and to kneel down and put my hands in the warm earth. It was a hot day, and soon my glasses and shirt were streaked with sweat. But the sun felt good on my back, and I quickly achieved a kind of zen-like gardening state. Shovel out a small hole, drop in some potting soil, carefully remove the plant and its square of soil from the tray in the flat, put them in the ground, and fill in the rest of the hole. Do it repetitively, one after the other, without thinking too much about it.
I worked steadily and before I knew it, I was done. My back ached, my hands were filthy, and I got blisters and lost patches of skin in the expected places on my palms, but I felt an immense sense of accomplishment. Shortly after I finished, a helpful thunderstorm rolled in and gave the new flowerbeds their first watering, and I watered them again this morning, enjoying the neat rows of flowers and the rich colors.
Gardening, like other household chores, offers immediate rewards for those who are willing to contribute the sweat equity. You start with a bag of soil and some flats of flowers, and you end with flowerbeds that, in my humble opinion, look pretty darned good.