Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wait. Insects live outside?

I've always enjoyed gardening more in theory than fact. The planning and planting stages were always great fun, but the actual day-to-day maintenance of a plot or bed held no interest for me. I remember, at our house in Spring Grove, I begged my parents to let me have the care of one particular bed. It had wonderful potential, being tucked away in a shady corner behind the garage, and I dreamed of rows of hollyhocks, trellised clematis and sweet peas, coral bells and bleeding hearts, all old-fashioned loveliness. Then I discovered the snake hole. And the spiders. And the ants. So much for my dreams of peaceful, picturesque garden work. The outdoors are dangerous! (I should note that my aversion to a potentially snake-infested garden was kind of ridiculous, given that my friend Brit and I used to play with snakes, frogs, toads, and whatever else our neighbor April could dig out of a window-well. Go figure.)

For the most part, I've maintained that wimpy attitude toward outside work. I'm fine, until the bugs start crawling out of hiding. Ants, pill bugs, grubs, slugs, centipedes...all would send me running inside to shower and don a sundress. Nope, sorry, can't garden in a skirt. Wouldn't be ladylike.

For some reason, it's different this year. Ants get brushed off and ignored. Slugs and grubs go the way of all flesh ('cause seriously, those things have to die). And spiders...well, they merit a screech and a momentary "you can do it, Bethany" pep-talk, but after that they either die (for the big ugly guys) or get flicked away (for the little ones). The pest dealt with, I go back to the important task at hand.

The timing for this abrupt change in attitude could not have been better. When I get home after a day in the office, I need sunshine and fresh air. I could take a book and sit outside, but a good deal of the time I simply don't have the brain power required to read anything more complex than InStyle magazine or Georgette Heyer. In addition, since I'm out of the house all day, I don't get to contribute much to the day-to-day work around here. If I can spend a bit of my evening clearing the weeds out of the garden and deadheading the flowers, it helps me feel a little less like a leech. This Summer, I need that time in the garden.

Although it would help if certain people would stop using and losing my gardening gloves. They say "ladies, size small" for a reason, guys.