I was out in the yard weeding the other day, marveling at how lush the pesky wood sorrel had gotten when so many of the plants I did want to thrive were looking bedraggled.
The geraniums Id planted in front of some shrubbery wore a few pitiful blooms, not the blaze of scarlet Id envisioned. A noticeable gap had appeared where some critter had uprooted one of the flowers, giving the garden the look of a first-grader missing a front tooth.
The leaves of my black-eyed Susan bore the unsightly black blotches of septoria leaf spot, a disease Id been warned about in my master gardening class. Darn, Id meant to clean up those sickly leaves last fall. Now they were back to taunt me for my negligence.
The hydrangeas, as usual, had stubs of stalks where their flower heads were supposed to be. Im not sure I saw a single bloom this year, but I saw a whole lot of well-fed deer in my yard.
I sighed in frustration. See, this was the year I swore I was going to keep ahead of the weeds. This was the year I was going to divide my perennials, deadhead my daisies regularly and spray my hostas and hydrangeas faithfully with deer repellent.
This was the year my garden was going to be great.
Except it isnt.
Oh, sure, there were a few heady moments. Everything looked sweet in spring when the bleeding heart was in bloom and the forget-me-nots and lamium formed a happy pink-and-blue tangle. A new clematis that had been a sorry-looking stick when I rescued it and planted it far too late last fall survived the odds and clambered over my deck railing. And my potted plants and hanging baskets are still putting on an unusually lavish show.
Still, Id hoped for so much better. I had sworn up and down that Id be more attentive this year, that Id spend more time in the garden and less on Facebook. I pictured perfectly manicured beds, bountiful blooms and admiring looks from passers-by.
But then reality got in the way, as it always does. I got lazy. It got hot. My commitment waned.
I guess being a gardener is a little like being a Cleveland sports fan. Every spring when I wander through the garden center, my mind fast-forwards to a glorious midsummer with all the misplaced hope of an Indians fan who dreams of the playoffs as soon as the pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Im certain that some new plant is going to transform my garden, just as Im sure the Browns first-round draft pick is going to rescue the team.
Although things never quite turn out as I hope, I always spend the gardening offseason shaking off my disappointment and promising to start fresh in the spring.
Because theres always next year.
Follow Mary Beth Breckenridge on her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.