Backyard horror stories – Part 1

Twisted Ankle and Busted Back surveyed the flower bed they had just finished planting. Then they counted the plants. Thirty eight plants had been planted since morning. A lot of them were in bloom, and the flower bed was looking very attractive with pink and purple blossoms.

Then they turned around and their eyes widened as the full horror of their situation struck them in the face.

But I am getting ahead of myself, starting the story somewhere near the middle. What is this, a Bollywood epic complete with flashbacks? No, let me start again from the beginning.

The story starts at a time when Twisted Ankle and Busted Back hadn’t grown into their roles yet – i.e. no ankles had been twisted. So I shall just call them TA and BB, for now.

Long weeks ago, TA wanted a bicycle. The idea was to spend weekends, and optimistically, weekday evenings, biking on nearby trails and putting the long summer days to good use. TA specifically wanted a women’s bicycle, so the fact that there was already two bicycles at home, including one mountain bike, was irrelevant.

Now BB wanted TA to have the best bike there was. (This may have been concern for TA, or just a safety precaution to avoid future consumer complaints on BB’s bike-buying skills, we will never know which). Research on the internet showed that Trek made the best bikes. Accordingly, all the bike shops were toured, but the prices were astronomical, as much as a thousand dollars, and some even more. So BB started searching for a Trek bike on Craigslist.

What happened next remains an unsolved mystery to TA. She was busy blogging at that time, so she will never know exactly how, but somehow the search for bicycles turned into a search for perennial plants on Craigslist. The next thing TA knew, she was motoring towards Boondocksville, 25 miles west, to buy plants.

“At 6 bucks a plant, we cannot make a mistake”, BB said as they bought around 20 plants from the really happy gardener. TA came back feeling guilty all the way home because she thought Really Happy Gardener was too nice and probably naive to sell such large plants at such a steep discount to their local nursery. (did we mention, TA had also bought a few plants from the local nursery a week ago?)

The plants were sent off to the backyard, where they had to be watered daily. TA actually started welcoming summer rains because they meant no watering duty.

The next week, BB again started searching Craigslist for bikes. By now, TA knew what to expect, so she wasn’t surprised to find herself traveling 15 miles north to buy more plants. At six bucks a plant, she knew, she wasn’t going to make a mistake. So she bought about 20 more plants.

These new plants joined the others in the backyard. No doubt, the newbies introduced themselves and they all became great friends, for soon they were all swaying happily together in the breeze.

Now TA and BB had to plant these plants. There was no space in the front garden, so they had to carve out their backyard lawn to create a new flower bed. They needed black dirt, compost and peat moss.

So off they went to the garden center of a big box store. The black dirt was too expensive, but the rose plants seemed very cheap. So they bought 6 rose plants.

Then they went to another garden center, where they bought some peat moss. They also saw a sale of plants for $3.50. “At three bucks, it’s a no-brainer”, said BB, so they bought around 20 more plants.

Meanwhile, they rose early one morning and went to the Farmer’s Market to buy vegetables. Unfortunately, there was a bright zinnia in one of the stalls at the far end of the market, and it caught their eye. So they went to the plants section, and found someone selling tiny plants, some just 6 inches tall, for about 60 cents a pot.

“At 60 cents, it’s a steal”, they told each other and bought 64 plants in two large trays. The zinnias? They were left alone, being only annuals; TA and BB only wanted to buy perennials that would survive the harsh winter.

As they carried the plants to their car, they realized they couldn’t linger around and buy vegetables now – the plants would get heated up in the car’s trunk. So they cut back on the vegetable shopping and rushed home to water the plants.

Now the backyard resembled a mini nursery. There were plants in all sizes and colors. All the watering meant that there were also a whole lot of weeds around all the pots. In fact, some of the weeds were taller and bushier than the plants themselves.

The black dirt got delivered home one day, and they discovered that the city supplied free compost. So everything was taken care of, except making the perennial bed.

They started cutting out the lawn. Looking back, that is when the whole thing started to unravel.


To be continued….


9 thoughts on “Backyard horror stories – Part 1

  1. I can’t wait to see what happened when you tried cutting out the lawn (I’m waiting with my shovel and hoe in hand for the next round of heavy rain before I attempt anything. No luck so far, since we always go on biking trips on those nice sunny days after a heavy rain, and I miss the perfect window to edge the flower bed properly.

    Gorgeous photo, by the way! Is that gaillardia (blanket flower) one of your recent purchases?

    Lekhni: Yes, the gaillardia was a recent purchase and it’s a picture from my garden. It’s thriving in the flower bed and has put out so many more flowers 🙂

  2. Hmmm… sounds familliar. I buy plants because in my head I see this garden full of flowers and vegetables and fruit all of which are perennials and dont need hard work (as if)… and then I get home and crash back into the reality of a hanky-sized lawn and stony soil and a general lack of space and accessories for my purchases. *sigh* But do I learn? Nevah!

    Dont make us wait too long for the next instalment.

    Lekhni: Can you believe that it was the idea of saving on work that motivated us to this madness? We thought, less lawn to mow, fertilize or weed. Little did we know that all work here is front-ended 😦

    I completely understand the urge to buy plants without thinking where they will go! If nothing else, you can always have a container garden 🙂

    The next instalment will follow very soon, I promise!

  3. Lekhni

    I am seriously considering buying TA and BB return tickets to London, b&b included so long as they promise to replicate this feat in my garden.. 😉

    Lekhni: That sounds like a very attractive offer 😀 The free trip to London, I mean, not the gardening part 😉

  4. I think they would have spent enough money which could have covered the cost of the bicycle! 🙂 🙂

    but i am sure their garden looked awesome!

    am waiting for the follow up! write soon! 🙂

    Lekhni: That is true, the perennial bed is going to cost much more than any bicycle!
    As for the garden, it does look beautiful right now, but they are really hoping that all this comes together next year and the garden would look even more terrific next year!

  5. Looks like there is a dead body to be discovered soon.

    Lekhni: Dinosaurs? Trilobytes? I’d love the former, but will happily settle for the latter 🙂

  6. Pingback: Seedlings in my basement | The Imagined Universe

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