I imposed the death sentence today.
I did this by planting 36 marigolds, 18 begonias and 10 fall mums in the strip of barren earth that runs alongs my front sidewalk. I like to refer to this area as the "Death Zone."
Earlier this season, I planted 144 impatiens in bright blooms of white and fuschia. That was before the water restrictions imposed on our county. I tried my best to keep them watered during the "non-penalty" hours but it was very difficult. You must really have a heart for gardening to water manually between the hours of midnight and 6:00am on a Monday or Wednesday. My need for sleep soon outweighed my desire to have a healthy garden. Thus, the impatiens withered away. My garden was sad, pitiful even.
Tired of the wasteland that lay outside my front door, I ventured to Lowe's and stocked up on a variety of annuals to brighten this area once again. I moved my trays to the sidewalk and took out my trusty garden spade to begin the tedious process of digging the holes. The blazing sun simmered on my brow as beads of sweat rippled across my temples. My knees caked with dirt, I crouched down to delve into the awaiting soil. Soil? No such luck. My spade hit the rock hard earth with a "thud" and as I dug even deeper, the sharp scraping sound of metal against rock ended my hopes of a nice, relaxing horticultural encounter.
Pieces of granite-like rock emerged as I forcefully struck the soil hoping to find a soft spot. The solid red dirt was packed so firmly it was as if every particle had agreed in some underground union meeting to lock arms and not let the big, bad woman with the sharp shiny thing in her hand through. I cursed the ground, I cursed Mother nature and most of all...I cursed my need to have flowers in the midst of one of the hottest, driest summers on record.
But, my determination was stronger than my urge to throw in the towel. Soon, I got into a groove and the flowers were in the ground. In my own twisted little way, I apologized to each one as I inserted their tendril-like root systems into each unwelcoming slot. "I promise to keep you watered," I whispered, covering the edges with the extranneous clay/soil mixture.
I can't imagine living in an area where the dirt is black as soot and easy to dig into. That must make for a rewarding gardening experience. As for me, I shall continue my plight for a nice garden at all costs. Mother Nature and I may go a few rounds in the process, but I won't let that stand in my way.
For those of you keeping score at home:
Rocks and Hard-as-Heck Clay: O