I’m a fraud. A fake. A pretender. And the proof is in the potting shed.
Yes, this is my jewel of a potting shed – the one that takes center stage in many of my photos, the place where I find peace in the middle of winter as I start my seeds, the backyard structure that allows me to believe that I have a Martha (no need for last names here) existence.
Clearly, though, nothing could be further from the truth.
I came to the realization long ago that I am not, no matter how hard I try, Martha-esque. I get dirty when I garden. I have a tendency to use every pot in the kitchen when I cook (although I now know to clean as I go). And I have been known to step on the prongs of a rake, sending the handle swinging up into the side of my head — on more than one occasion. But it’s the condition of this shed that really says, “You, sir, are no Martha.”
Martha Stewart’s new television season has begun on the Hallmark Channel — and I survived the day without tuning in — and that’s a very good thing. I offer up this confession because Martha and I, well, we used to have a thing. Or at the very least, I did.
I remember it like it was yesterday — the day I met Martha Stewart. I never actually met her, physically, but it was my first introduction to Martha style. It was nearly 20 years ago, and I was sitting in my friend’s salon, leafing through magazines. That’s when I came across an issue of Martha Stewart Living.
I took one hit, and I was hooked. I liked the writing. I loved the style. The fonts. The photos. The locales. The recipes. The gardens and flowers — there was so much in that magazine, and with each turn of the page, I felt my world opening up. I saw things I never thought I would see. Articles about terracotta pottery. Photos of bulbs. Handmade wreaths!
Then the fiending started. I found her show (the early version). In my area, it aired on Sunday mornings, and I incorporated it into my Sunday routine. Breakfast. Newspaper. Martha. Crossword puzzle. There was nothing that she couldn’t do. And it was all perfect. She could pot an entire container garden and barely get a smudge on her garden gloves. I, on the other hand, would look like I had been run over by a mulching lawn mower. Continue reading
A few years ago, I purchased Little Grapette. This one bloomed and it's clearly not a Little Grapette, but who cares?
A few years ago, I began to toy with daylilies — or rather, daylilies began to toy with me.
As a child, I remember seeing orange daylilies everywhere. Yard after yard was filled with their stalks and their orange gift at the end. After the bloom, it was nothing but blades of foliage. In my mind, they were ordinary.
About 17 years ago, I happened to be watching Martha Stewart’s original television show and on it, she profiled Sydney Eddison. My memory of that segment is of the two women — Martha
At last, Little Grapette makes an appearance.
towering above the older Ms. Eddison — walking through the guest’s daylily border. I believe the segment was timed quite nicely with a daylily spread in Martha’s magazine. I remember being stunned by the variety of color, heights, and bloom times. These were not your grandmother’s daylilies. I was sold. Continue reading
In my last post, I made brief mention of my Mommie Dearest moment — a not-so-proud incident that clearly illustrated the ugly and, yes, comedic side of gardening. I had asked people to remind me to tell the story, and they have. So here it is.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a backyard not so far away, there lived a young gardener, me. Joe and I had recently purchased his parents’ home, and the yard presented us with a blank canvas. I had always enjoyed gardening as a kid, but that was usually relegated to the family’s vegetable plot. Now, I had a whole yard and a big vision and no money. The layout in the back was pretty basic. There was a large built-in pool with red and green patio blocks surrounding it. To the east, there was an area of pebbles and stones, and this led to a small lawn. The rocks were held in place by a low wall of cinder blocks, all placed on their sides.
I decided to start small one year, and I planted marigolds in each of the cinder block openings. They did quite well, thriving on neglect and heat. The following year, though, I saw on Martha Stewart’s early television show that she grew gigantic sunflowers and would harvest her own home-grown sunflower seeds. Then, in true Martha-style, she would even hang some of the flower heads in the trees to feed birds and squirrels. The whole idea sounded like an eco-friendly winner.