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Fischer: How does your garden grow? Mine’s just getting started

By Jen Fischer - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Apr 12, 2024

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Jen Fischer

“Are you gonna plant a garden this year?” A question muttered in our home on frequent occasion by my spouse, who loves to mimic his father’s mumble from the old days when the men would sit on the rickety wooden porch in front of the general store while sipping their cold ones and making small talk. I doubt he really wants an answer. He just likes to hear himself say it. It brings some sort of nostalgic comfort to him to grumble these words under his breath, in memory of his dad.

Today, however, as the sun has finally pushed through all the cold, dark clouds of the late winter, it seems we may have a hope of warmer weather ahead. This inspires me. While I couldn’t hope to think I could plant something edible within our soil, as the wildlife surrounding us would surely eat it before we ever got the chance to, I would like to see more color in our yard. Those were my initial thoughts when I solicited help to pull everything that had previously taken root — 17 years’ worth — in our front yard out by the deeply imbedded roots. It seems now I am committed to “planting a garden this year.”

This will not be the first time I have played in the dirt. I began my love of dirt and all things that come with it at the very earliest of ages. I remember “helping” my grandpa prune the plum tree and the rose bushes that sat outside of the triplex he owned. We occupied one of the units for a time before I entered grade school. While I don’t recall ever holding a set of pruning sheers during that time, I do remember my mom’s consistent complaints about how I could get so dirty in so little time. Later, when I did begin my formal schooling career, I skipped most days of kindergarten — unbeknownst to my mom or grandma, who was my caregiver during the time — to play in the dirt outside. The gutter was a good alternative. And on the days of rain or snow, the elevator in the hotel across the street became my playground. The unfortunate mismanagement of my time became the giveaway. It did not, however, stop the occurrence of my 5-year-old truancy. I attended an entire 12 excruciating days of class that year.

Either way, today I am looking forward to filling all the bare soil with various types of colorful vegetation in the front of my house this year. Some of them will be perennials (meaning they will grow back each year), and some will be annuals that I will need to replant each year. I have found that the combination of both is the best way to enjoy year-round color in the garden.

My limited knowledge concerning various types of indigenous flowers, plants, trees and shrubberies came out of necessity when I needed to sell my own home. Curb appeal is a big deal and all I had were rocks and dirt in my yard. I embarked upon a cram course of Gardening 101. I worked from sunup to sundown with blistered hands and a sore back to prepare, plant, dig, fertilize, water and landscape my entire yard. On Saturdays, I would listen to the “Garden Show” on KSL, frequently calling to get advice. It worked. Within four weeks, I had a beautiful yard.

My home sold quickly, and for the next few months following that sale, I would drive by my old home to see how the new owners were maintaining my grueling and deliberate labor — but alas, they were not. They had torn down my arbor, killed my beloved wisteria plant and allowed the weeds to choke out and inundate the rest of my revered beauty. I quit driving past my old house, heartbroken and disappointed.

What was it all for? Was it all for nothing? Then I remembered the words from a book I once read titled “My Summer in a Garden” by Charles Dudley Warner: “The love of dirt is among the earliest of passions. … Mudpies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure. … The love of digging in the ground is as sure to come back to him, as he is sure, at last, to go under the ground, and stay there.” It is always worth it to “plant a garden.”

Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jen@jen-fischer.com.


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