Tuesday, July 10, 2007
We Grow Deer
I have a long history with growing things.
When I was growing up, we had a terrace off of our 16th floor apartment. It was pretty large for a New York City terrace, and my mother's pride and joy was keeping up her rock garden and flower boxes. She even had a gardener - Mr. Anderson, whom I believed was Hans Christian Anderson. I was buried in books even then.
So, having witnessed the seemingly effortless roses, pansies, bittersweet, etc., spring to life each season, I figured, "How hard can this be?"
Fast forward to my beginning days as a teacher. I decided that my third grade classroom needed lots of plants in order to be homey, so I filled our window ledges with small treasures from K-Mart a few days before school opened. By mid-October, they were all dead.
There was no mystery in this - plants need water, and if you don't water them, well, they die.
So I tried again in November, enlisting the help of some of my most avid and active little learners. This was more successful - the plants held on up to December break. Success!
Then, of course, I didn't take them home with me, so...
Dead again by January 3rd.
My plant career continued accordingly, until, by my third year of teaching, I finally gave up.
I was quite happy in this non-growing vein, until I got married and we bought our first house. The previous owners had done a lovely job of landscaping around our little starter home - trillium, hostas, chinese lanterns and a lovely Rose of Sharon. And miraculously, for the 5 years we lived there, they all survived. But again, I wasn't actually nurturing these - they'd had many years of good care before I came into the picture.
Now we live in the house that I hope we'll live in until we die or until they cart us away. It has nearly a full acre, including a back garden, and a little front patch of garden, plus plantings around the front of the house.
It became clear to me that that back garden was too much for me to handle - I decided a rock garden would be a better way to go.
Let me just put it this way...
I've never made a bad investment (I'm very conservative in this area) other than what I invested in our landscape planner. His solution was to toss a few boulders among the already existing plants, send in two college kids to (barely) plant a couple of trees which died within two months, and tear up ground cover, without replacing plants in those areas. A lot of money was spent, and at this point, four years later, we have literally nothing to show for it. We still have the plantings that the previous owners left us... again, they did a good job and I now can manage watering, for the most part.
Well, given my history and my not-so-green thumb, we grow deer. Whereas they are the scourge of other gardeners, we just welcome them in to eat whatever it is that served as plants from our landscaping fiasco. They tromp through the neighborhood in any case, going their daily rounds, and those of our neighbors who are serious about gardening have electric or cyclone fences.
We have deer.
And one deer happens to have three of the cutest fawns I've ever seen, so we enjoy our browns and whites, and forego the pleasures of riotous color that more talented gardeners are able to cultivate.