Getting a little dirty for the sake of color

We got our hands a little dirty today. This is standard fare for my kids, but not for me, at least not when it involves dealing with tiny insects and toiling in the hot sun. This explains why our backyard is all lawn and not much else.

What prompted me to dig out my gardening gloves and other tools are three colorful rose plants I couldn't help but notice in the produce section while doing my weekly grocery shopping. Bright pink, tangerine and ivory. I simply couldn't resist these beautiful flowers, especially when they all cost less than what I would pay for a bouquet of roses.

As my kids and I dug the holes for the plants, I looked around at all the brown dirt surrounding us. I felt slightly sad knowing we've lived in our house for more than five years without adding much color to our landscaping. We bought our house new, which meant we were responsible for all the backyard landscaping. Drainage pipes, lawn, retaining wall. All of it.

The landscaping company we chose designed a backyard that earned us plenty of compliments early on, though I'm sure many of our visitors have since wondered why we've never taken it to the next level by adding more plants and flowers. There are many reasons why we didn't do so, but the truth of the matter is that my priority was working on the inside of our home.

Until now, I've been content to let my husband mow the lawn and do the weeding. The last time I planted anything in our backyard was last December when I discovered pink poinsettias at Target. It was a memorable occasion because it was the first time both my kids were old enough to help me with the gardening. Today, my son proudly noted how large the poinsettias have grown, prompting me to fantasize that our tiny rose plants would one day grow to towering bushes. This thought then led me a bigger dream: that one day our backyard will be a panoply of color, thanks to all the plants that my kids and I will plant together in the coming years.

Sometimes I've regretted not forking over the extra cash early on for professional gardeners to make our backyard look pretty, but I'm now thinking maybe it was for the best. A little corny perhaps, but wouldn't our garden be that much more precious if my kids and I are able to look on it one day as the result of our laboring together?

Truthfully, I don't know whether my children's interest in gardening will hold. Even now, they are content to help me dig for a few minutes, but then abandon their posts to go make "sand castles" with the dirt and bury all their dinosaurs.

The fact of the matter is that I've managed to plant three different plants in five years so I've got to be realistic if this plan is going to work.

The way I see it, I'll just take it one plant at a time.



Razmataz said...

I think Kids love dirt more than anything, so they have likely enjoyed the garden as it it. It looks like you have a challenging garden with that large slope. It would look great with flowers one day, although it is a large area to tackle. Maybe wildflower seeds?

Gorgeous colour combination for the roses Minnie.

Torrie said...

Isn't it funny how there's certain areas that we put on the back burner, intending to tackle and before we know it- it's YEARS later! I have so many of those areas in my home... in my life. But I think that your approach is perfect- one plant at a time. It reminds me of a recent post that I read (, in which the "little recipes" aren't always perfect- or what we would like, what we intended- but it's the BIG recipe of life that matters. The fact that you are involving your children in the process... that you are taking your inspiration to the next level by acting on it- and then inspiring your kids in the process.

So in my book (or should I say, "cookbook") so have the "perfect recipe." :)

Heather said...

Your lawn looks amazingly carpet-like green! That alone is hard to achieve! The plants will look great. Just plant things that fill in over time...I think lilies tend to spread, and tiger lilies would look nice on the hill to the side. Would they grow where you are?

Minnie said...

Heather, Thank you for the lawn compliment. My husband will be thrilled to hear that since he works hard at keeping it green. And i appreciate the suggestions for flowers because I really don't know much about them, one of the reasons the whole project has been delayed.

Torrie, You're sweet. I looked up that post and I see what you mean. I agree that the big picture is more imprtant than getting the details down perfectly.

CACHANILLA73 said...

Minnie, this is a very sweet post, You made me remember the song "Mi arbol y Yo". Having a beautiful garden takes time and love and with the help of your beautiful children you will have one, one that is full of love and sweet memories. ')



Minnie said...

Cotty, Thank you for your sweet sentiment. I'm not familiar with that song so I will have to look it up. The title reminds me of a book my son used to love when he was two years old, "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. We would have to read it to him several times in one sitting. I do agree with you that, as with anything else, a garden does take time, dedication and loving care for it to grow into something beautiful.

CACHANILLA73 said...

Oh Minnie, you will love the song, is by Alberto Cortez, here is the link, hope you like it as much as I do.

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