A Dirt Hater’s Guide to Gardening and Friendship

I hate dirt.

I’m pretty much adverse to all forms of grunge, sweat, humidity, bugs, and most displays of physical exertion — basically all the things you experience outdoors.

I, like everyone else, love pretty flowers, sunshine and rainbows. And all those things look really nice on my screensaver.

But somehow I have an awesome friend who loves dirt. She loves it so much she could roll around in it – all while reeling off the names of every last plant in her flowerbeds. In Latin.

She even knows what these strange garden implements are called - and how to use them.

She even knows what these strange garden implements are called – and how to use them.

She knows her stuff. Better yet, she loves her stuff. And what my pitiful black thumb has done to almost every plant in my possession makes her want to cry.

After my husband (with delusions of yard makeover grandeur) jerked out every overgrown shrub from our front yard by the roots with a chain and a big straining truck, Jen came over.

It was time for a garden intervention.

This is her sketch, now covered with a dusty sheen and smudged with water from the hose.

This is her sketch, now covered with a dusty sheen and smudged with water from the hose.

She sketched a landscaping plan with weird plant names I’d never heard of and could not, for the life of me, spell.

And if that had been me, that’s where my tap of charity would run dry. (Here’s your nice piece of paper with all my wisdom and guidance scribbled upon it! Good luck with all that! Tra la la!)

But this friend actually came over with a shovel and garden tools and a minivan stuffed to the brim with cuttings and sea grasses and these little green darlings she loved.

This friend shuns the white hot media spotlight of this blog and prefers to remain hatted and anonymous.

My friend shuns the white hot media spotlight of this blog and prefers to remain hatted and anonymous.

And she dug in the dirt for me. She poured sweat for me. She shared what she knew and what she loved with me. She tried to make my corner of the world prettier for me.

Ernie2

Ernie helped too.

I’m pretty sure there’s gonna be a high kill rate. Some of these precious green things will not make it. I’ve been watering, I swear – but it’s been wicked hot out there by New England standards and I have no idea what I’m doing. The brown is creeping.

But she knew it was a gamble going in. And she took that gamble. For me.

That’s a friend.

JenPlants2

There’s risk involved. There’s sacrifice. There’s getting your hands dirty in the mess of other people’s lives.

But in it, there was so much joy. We giggled and we gossiped and I got mulch everywhere. It was as much fun as an inside nerd can have in the Great Outdoors.

She tells me that real gardeners don't wear gloves. I'm sure quiche is okay though.

She tells me that real gardeners don’t wear gloves. I guess this makes me BONAFIDE.

Lord, let me be a friend like that – one with a brimming full station wagon, a solid set list of funny stories, and two really dirty hands.

If not literally dirty, then at least figuratively.

It still counts.

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