Feeling All Oogie Inside, with Nary an Assist from Mr. Daniels, Mr. Jack Daniels

It’s a little sobering to realize that my advancing age means I get as excited about flowers and gardens as I used to get about a Long Island Iced Tea. The bliss formerly proffered by a glass containing shots of tequila, rum, gin, triple sec, vodka, and a widdle splash of Cocoa-Cola is now matched, shot for shot, by nasturtiums, shasta daisies, black-eyed Susans, salvia, and zinneas.

I’ve always been a cheap date, but it seems I’ve downgraded to a status fondly known amongst empty-walleted Johns as “free.”

But check it, Zeppo:

We put in this garden a couple of summers ago, and now it owns me. I hover around this garden like Perez Hilton around Zac Efron–all hepped up and fawning in a way that exceeds anything rational. But look, honeys: those tall purple salvia in the front? We started them from seeds last April. Now look how they’ve grown up and are taking care of us in our dotage. Plus, for fun, we can call them “salivas.” Now that’s a flower that gives and then gives some more.

Garden Zac is just as attractive in the sideview, eh? You know you rather want those scarlet snapdragons (also started from seed) to reach out and nip you in the privates.

In the expanded profile, you can see how we, in a step towards de-Clampettification, had the house painted this summer. Gone is the lead-laden paint of 1934. Me brane radder mees it.

Just as good is the crazy shade garden that is lush with moistness, thriving sans sunlight, much like Dita Von Teese.

Remember my old pal and favorite tool–no, not Andrew Dice Clay–but the mattock? I dug and I dug and I dug, and then I laid down and cried, and then I squared my shoulders and dug some more, and then I played Freecell, and then I dug until a single cow came home, and then I slaughtered and butchered and grilled it, all while still digging. Oh, Poopsie, didn’t I dig. Eventually, I had made a gloriously large trench out back, one that awaited Groom’s overlay of pavers. Last week, when the family was staying down in St. Paul for the week, His Groomitude took the bus back to Duluth a couple of days early, just so he could pave for two days straight. But now we have a red brick road, which makes me want to dance down it with Diana Ross, each of us in search of a heart.

Near the new pathway, sunflowers flourish, amidst zinneas that are 2.5 feet tall. Hey, all of you urban types? If, next time you’re shooting the breeze with your co-workers in those painful five minutes before the meeting starts, you want to sound well-versed in subjects beyond how hot the city gets in August, try bringing up the fact that you once saw a 2.5-foot tall zinnea. It’s awe-inspiring enough to stop that blowhard Cavendish short, just as he’s launching into another tale of “my amazing sub par 18-holes last weekend.” Here’s the plan: the second you hear him mention the golf course, you start sputtering about gargantuan zinnias. At the very least, everyone in the room will be so bewildered, they’ll shut the hey up for once.

Increasing my bliss is the development of new gardens (the spot featured here is where the tree that blew down in a huge windstorm last year used to be rooted; we had a pile of woodchips that needed moving and a ton of compost and trench-remnant dirt to spread, and Little Mound here has pitched in with the effort). This gardeninal development was only made possible by my sainted aunt and uncle, who have these past few days kindly included our kids in their annual Camp Grandma and Grandpa Too week at their lake home. While the kids make tie-dyed pillowcases and eat one-too-many Little Smokies, Groom and I have been savoring the rare and wondrous phenomenon known as Being Alone in the House. Before knuckling down on the toting around of dirt and compost, we took a day for an extended date (not so free), during which, and do read into this as much as you like, GutterHeads, I ate all sorts of beef tips.

All that broken-up former sidewalk that we sledge-hammered to make room for the new pavers? They’ve become garden castle walls, ready to shelter new shade perennials. By the way, if anything on my blog ever offends you, I urge you to be the first to cast a stone; we always need more to ring the forts of flowers. Huck away, Sawyer.

With edible flowers growing on the deck, any salad is just a clipping away from pizazz. So says Gordon Ramsey. Except he says, “Fuck all of you idiotic fuckers if you don’t know to put a fucking nasturtium on a fucking even-an-idiot-could-do-it dinner salad.”

With gardens built, and Groomeo off at his slushy “I need a job outside of the house to go to occasionally, lest I stab the children” retail gig, I’ve admired the flowers again before heading inside to download new tunes, work on getting Fall term classes ready, and, in general, squeeze every last bit of succulence out of

a free date with myself.

(yea, GutterHeads, I hear ya).





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31 responses to “Feeling All Oogie Inside, with Nary an Assist from Mr. Daniels, Mr. Jack Daniels”

  1. Claire Avatar

    I love your flowers! I have some very tall zinnias in between my tomatoes. I know of a very funny blog for Groomeo: retail hell
    You can find it in Humor-blogs. Anyone who has ever worked in retail will find it a deliciously rude read.

  2. Star Avatar

    Gorgeous. In my dotage I too have taken a bit of an interest in a garden, although mine is nowhere near as ambitious as yours.

  3. Pam Avatar

    So funny the way you write.Loved this post. Thanks for your comments on my blog. Our gardens are looking bare in the Australian winter – your garden is just wonderful.

  4. Her Grace Avatar
    Her Grace

    Please come and visit me and put my gardens together for me. PLEASE.

    I have a perennial garden, only, well, nothing ever comes back, which I believe is the POINT of a perennial garden. I have another, which I tore out this year in frustration and planted an herb garden, which is merely a perennial garden you can eat.

    I’ll send you a plane ticket.


  5. furiousBall Avatar

    wow, your garden kicks ass.

    i really need to get to work on mine. first step, get rid of the pornographic lawn sculptures… and by pornographic lawn sculptures, I mean dead hookers

  6. Em Avatar

    You are just way excited about your little sprouts. But they do look lovely. And nothing wrong with being a free date. Quality is not determined by cost.

  7. Jazz Avatar

    As an urban type: What’s a Zinnia?

  8. Jazz Avatar

    As an urban type: What’s a Zinnia?

  9. lime Avatar

    you have the garden i have always wanted. you have awoken great botanical covetousness in me.

    here in PA we are blessed with a main crop being rocks and stones so any time you want to collect a few, come on over. my fee is a bit of gardening in my yard, since i have ZERO skill in that area. i do mean zero.

  10. Shieldmaiden96 Avatar

    I have a neighbor who thins things out and gives me the thinnings to plant; my garden is all sorts of relocated orphan plants that were all free. When she moves to Australia next year I get her rose bushes!

  11. Janelle Avatar

    wow! wow and wow again! what a beautiful garden but more what a plush green lawn..and lovely house! envious envious! and delighted to have found you from Diana’s blog…yay! xx janelle

  12. Glamourpuss Avatar

    I like the idea of Dita as a shade-loving fern.

    That date you had with yourself; frisky!


  13. annie Avatar

    i think your garden looks amazing. i completely understand that realization of how the things that move us change as we get older. i have just started my very first garden and every time i even glance at one of my growing tomatoes, i want to cry with joy.

  14. flutter Avatar


    THAT is totally a word, dabnabit.

  15. jess Avatar

    Wow. Can I come live with you?

  16. Say It Avatar
    Say It

    I am drooling over your gardens and the way you manhandle your yard into blooming and controlled submission!!

    Actually, I REALLY want a layout of the first garden so I can make a sister garden here in CT. Its beautiful and I more than love it, I LURVE it.

  17. Patience Avatar

    Wow!! Gorgeous!! Will you puh-leeze come make one for me?!?

  18. liv Avatar

    oh, you have a garden! i have no such thing. feh. the dogwood leaves are shrinking from no rain and the grass is parched. poo.

  19. Teresa Avatar

    Your gardens are beautiful! All that muscle behind the mattock has paid off. Put on your red slippers and sashay on down that brick path! My compliments to the groom too for a very fine paving job.

  20. Dorky Dad Avatar
    Dorky Dad

    Nice. Impressive garden you have there. Now feel free to come down here and help me figure out what to do with all those dang rocks around my house, will ya?


  21. Diana Avatar

    Oh, succulent bliss, indeed! Your yard is now so far from Clampetthood that you could charge admission.

    Were I to hear you, from the far corner of the meeting room, nattering on about giant zinnias, I’d make a bee-line from the table laden with coffee carafes and high sucrose bleached danishes and jump in your arms, yodelling, “monarda-hardy geraniums-6-foot-tall-tree-lilies!” and then obnoxiously hip-block the person sitting beside you out of their seat so I could spend the rest of the meeting scribbling in gardenese on the stack of small napkins I’d thought to bring with me.

    We gardeners are a menace to polite and unpolite society.

  22. Hammer Avatar

    I really like what you’ve done.

    that stone path is awesome!

    You know the only way I can do yardwork is 3 jack daniels before for motivation and 3 after to kill the back pain.

  23. AmyTree Avatar

    By ‘eck that’s a straight garden path he’s laid! (And a mighty straight trench you dug yourself there, missy). You have some glorious flowerbeds, any one of which I would be happy call my own. Come to think of it, that would be a lot less work than actually having one myself. Can I call dibs on the sunflowers and just carry around that photo, saying “Look at my garden, my wonderful gardener Jocelyn looks after it for me”?

  24. Minnesota Matron Avatar
    Minnesota Matron

    Honey, the Matron has nearly been home alone this week, too! The flowers are better than a Long Island Iced Tea because she can drink them at 9 in the morning and still see straight. Beautiful!

  25. Anette Avatar

    Thanks, that was a lovely walk through your beautiful garden! You’ve done very well!

  26. SQT Avatar

    The flowers are lovely, but sadly, I’m still in my Long Island ice tea phase.

  27. Jonah K. Haslap Avatar
    Jonah K. Haslap

    I’m sorry, I didn’t get all the way through your posey post. I’m still thinking about Zac Efron nipping at my privates.

  28. cathy Avatar

    I sometimes remember to water my plant:(

    Your garden is beautiful

  29. Anonymous Avatar

    Amazing how everyone is missing the point of this blog: it’s the BEEFTIPS people!


  30. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    Ooh, very nice. Can you come tend my garden? DOn’t worry about the poison ivy.

  31. Princess Pointful Avatar
    Princess Pointful

    Stellar working of pop culture into gardening. And they said it couldn’t be done…

    Also, I am extremely jealous. Apartment life feels a little oppressive after seeing those photos!

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