Life Hacks for the Lazy Gardener

I’m not what one would refer to as having a ‘green thumb’ – mostly because of a lack of effort or any desire to have dirt stuck under my fingernails. This loss of lust for manual labor does not mean I don’t enjoy a beautiful landscape, or a lush flowerbed. I have pined over English Cottage-esque photos and have even purchased kitschy lawn ornaments in the hope that the addition of one or two strategically placed metal adornments will transform my forlorn yard into one that invites fairies, slugs (which are apparently wanted for some unknown reason), and long leisurely walks.

Some individuals (I’m related to one who is an awesome Landscape Architect) love working with the soil. They relish in designing a yard that showcases flowers, and various colorful greeneries throughout the year. They understand things like pH balance, and don’t mind lugging water cans with blue water around to their gorgeous babies who bloom all season long.

I am not that person.

BUT I do enjoy the look of flowers. I like the smell of the lilacs that waft through my dining room windows from the overgrown bush that is begging to be trimmed, and just like my hair I will get to it at some point, just not today. I love fresh flowers on my counter, right up until the water turns murky and they start to weep from neglect. So this year I decided to actually buy some potted plants. I haven’t purchased a plant since my son was born, twelve years ago. And no, it’s not a coincidence. Unsure of anything about flowers I headed out to the local nursery I have driven by for years. Today was the day I would enter into its doors and see what all this gardening excitement was about.

What I found was a very hot and humid environment overrun with people who knew exactly what they were doing. While I wandered around sections labeled Zone 1, Zone 2, Annuals, Perennials I saw ladies and gentlemen pushing their carts with authority. I didn’t even grab a cart, knowing I was out of my element. I Googled many things that day trying to decipher the language of landscaping and in the end I grabbed two potted plants from the ‘shaded’ zone.

Arriving home I put those beauties on my front porch in the hopes of splashing some much needed color and sophistication to my space. I had recently purchased a few adornments for the porch: a small antique workbench, a rickety old white spindle chair, and I finally found a purpose for the two old windowpanes I had been storing in the garage for a year. I have a deep love of windowpanes – don’t ask me why.

Gardening Short Cuts - The Shitastrophy

It’s taken me a decade to put something on this porch, I’d say this is an improvement.

The plants were in white plastic pots with even crappier plastic hangars on them. I pulled off the clip on hangars and placed the one pot on the workbench. It is a flowering thing that kinda drapes hiding the hideousness of the plastic pot. The other pot I placed on the antique chair and stepped back to admire my work. Except my admiration turned to abhor. The albatross on the chair looked about as tacky as my husband’s grandma’s yard that had various mismatched ceramic animals reminiscent of pet cemetery. It was a look only a sweet old lady could pull off, not a suburban mom.

I was a bit annoyed. I had spent $12 on the damn pot and now I would have to go buy another pot to replant the thing in. I knew the chances of that happening were slim and I cursed under my breath my stupidity in thinking I could just buy a plant ‘off the shelf’ and avoid the dreaded replanting part.

And then divine intervention happened.

I pulled out the plastic sticks in the pots that tell you how to care for your new summer time guests, don’t you wish kids came with those, and figuring I would need instructions on caring for them went to stick them in the drawer of the old workbench. When I opened the drawer I found a scrap of fabric that was kinda the right color, and kinda fit the pot. Looking from the checked burgundy and crème fabric to my coral begonia potted plant I thought, “What the hell, why not?”

And voila…a new pot without any work.

Shortcuts to gardening -

I mean sure the fabric doesn’t wrap all the way around the pot, but who the hell is looking at the back of the pot? The important thing is when approaching my front porch the pot looks good, and really that’s all I care about – and not having dirt under my nails. I tucked that fabric inside the plastic wannabe and gathered the extra check savior and placed it under the hideous pot. Just like that my ugly duckling turned right into a beautiful swan.

I know I’m not the only lazy gardener out there, and thought others could benefit from my garden hack, you’re welcome.



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  1. This is just brilliant! I despise the plastic pots and always mean to repot them, but now this hack gives me some promise. Only problem, now I need to go to the fabric store, and I will most likely wander around in there in the same way you wander around garden nursery’s….
    But i am determined!