A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Intrepid Urban Farmer: Complicating each step is my flair, so I’ve agreed to be on Covington Garden tour

By Ginger Dawson
NKyTribune reporter

Well, I’ve done it again.  I’ve taken steps to make my life more complicated and require more work.

I have finally figured out that I have a particular flair for this.

When I was younger, I thought that having high standards (realistic or not)  and pursuing challenges was the path to success. I thought I could take on lots of hard work and do it in a manner that was efficient and capable. I was pretty good at it.

This tomato is all dressed up and ready for its audience. (Photos by Ginger Dawson)

One of my childhood heroes was Donald Duck’s uncle, Scrooge McDuck. He always lectured his three grandnephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie to “work smarter; not harder” (I never said I was a normal kid).

That seemed like good advice and I embraced it. At least I thought I did.

It turns out that I was a little dyslexic. My interpretation, as I look back (ah, hindsight) was more aligned with “work harder; not smarter.”

Yep, I figured out that I could spin tires with the best of them.

I have had to accept the fact that my gardening exploits almost fall under this adage.

I am in the middle of getting the 2019 garden off the ground and that takes a ton of work, of course!

A new variety of pepper ready to be admired.

A few years back, I came upon the plan of planting the garden with a front game. In order to manage weeds and have better water management (in case of a drought), I started to include in my planting the installation of a network of soaker hoses. I then completely cover the area with newspaper and straw. About a thousand square feet. It is as onerous to do as it sounds.

The fun part of all of this is when the wind blows.  If I am not careful, newspaper flies all over the place and I have to do everything twice.

Fortunately, after a few years of what seemed like a losing game of Whac-A-Mole, I finally figured out a technique for holding the newspaper down until I got the straw on top of it.  Here is it — a hand full of dirt on the corners of the paper. I look back on this with embarrassment (why did it take me three seasons to figure this out?).

Oh, and did I mention I also use some version of plant support for almost everything?

In the thick of all of this work, I have to remind myself that this front game does pay off.  In August, when the heat and humidity makes yard work a hateful prospect — no weeds!  And, watering is just a matter of connecting the hose and turning on the faucet.

Look at all that straw! I’ll be happy about it in August, though.

So, in spite of this absurd addition of work, I have made peace with myself over it. The logic bears out. I soldier on and get it done.

Covington Garden Tour

However, reverting to type, I agreed to be in the Covington Garden Tour.  Yes, you heard right.

So now, not only do I have to be worried about getting my garden planted, I now have to worry about what it LOOKS like.

I do have a flair — for more work.

Now, I do care about how things look.  However, what I think looks good generally does not play well to the Martha Stewart crowd.

I don’t delve into flowers and ornamentals very deeply, and it will be interesting to see how my “minimalist” approach (except for the STRAW, there is lots of STRAW) will be received.

As always, Elvis is ready for his closeup.

While I, myself, can get excited about a huge, high-yielding tomato plant, most people do not.

And, unfortunately, since it will be early in the season, the plants won’t be at their high-yielding peaks and I won’t even be able to use free tomatoes to bribe approval.

Now, of course, there will be plenty of other beautiful gardens to see:  Gorgeous flowers, garden art, and beautifully appointed urban outdoor spaces.

The Covington Garden Tour is June 8th and 9th (Saturday and Sunday) from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25.00 the days of the event.

Get complete info and tickets here.

So, even without the promise of free tomatoes, I hope to see you, anyway!

Related Posts

Leave a Comment