Of course, I love gardens. Don't we all love the color, the fragrance, the variety that gardens provide us? But here's what I don't like: dirt. I don't like dirt on my clothes or under my fingernails (I just spent $50 on a mani-pedi, a rare indulgence but hey - dirt doesn't go with the pink lacquer!). I don't like hauling 20 lb bags of potting soil from my car to the workspace I've temporarily created on the porch. I especially don't like cleaning up afterwards.

I also don't like digging holes in the dirt of my flower beds. I don't like finding rocks, pulling weeds, digging up roots and squishing bugs. I don't think it's fun or fulfilling or even relaxing to have dirty sneakers and work gloves to clean off. Nor is it relaxing to brush away sweat in my eyes, sweat that fogs up my eyeglasses and makes my hair a mess. I don't like having to remember to water the plants - often, I forget - because to my way of thinking, it's my job to plant the damn things, it's Mother Nature's job to remember the water!

What I do like? Finding rose buds on my rosebushes...rosebushes that my late husband and I nurtured over the course of several winters and which, now, I treasure because of that memory. His love for me was evident as he earnestly constructed plywood shelters for those baby bushes so many years ago. I have a new bush to plant this year, and I wonder who will build a plywood shelter for this one? Will it live through a brutal winter like the one we just had?

The lady's mantle and heuchera that I planted last fall with little hope they would live, did survive. They are growing. That's another thing I love about gardening. The hope - and the suspense - and the success. It doesn't always happen that way, here in upstate NY. But it happens just often enough that (like golf) it makes me want to try again. In spite of the dirt on my clothes and under my fingernails. Silly, isn't it?