On the Necessity of Dirt

There are six bags of dirt stacked next to my driveway.

Over the next few weeks, they will replace the dirt in the concrete-encased wildernesses that currently comprise the “garden”—and from these literally humble beginnings I am hoping more aesthetically-pleasing growths will emerge.

(To date, we’ve hacked down one unidentifiable tree-ling sprouting fantastically repulsive fruits and exiled three potted saplings of equally unsightly countenance. In this particular Garden of Eden, having knowledge isn’t evil but being unattractive certainly is.)

But all that planting (and wishing and hoping) will come much, much later.

For now, there is the matter of emptying six bags of soil—which means clearing the existing plots of everything (the word “everything” being a convenient linguistic shorthand for a spectacularly heterogenous mass that includes ant hills and root systems on the one hand, and plastic pipes and broken pebbles on the other).

And it’s just beginning to dawn on me that this gardening business apparently involves a lot of dirt (something I’d always suspected but never quite confirmed—it’s hard to tell when most of the gardeners you see on television are immaculate little grannies wearing dainty rubber gloves). The worst part is: the six bags I’ve bought of the stuff may not even be enough.

(This is something else I belatedly learned: that you can actually pay for dirt, and can pay a lot for it, in fact. So if you’ve only got room for a cactus, that’s not entirely a bad thing. It saves you a lot of water too.)

At any rate, this is the plan of action: wholesale slaughter and destruction of all the garden’s current denizens (with the sole exception of the yucca tree which is just too big and which, fortunately enough, I also happen to like).

And then when the dirt has settled, we’ll figure out what’s next.


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