Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Rock Bottom Resolution

I hadn't planned on making any resolutions this year after realizing I had failed miserably at the ones I created last January. Did I blow my budget, cuss at large trees and buy too many plants? Yes, yes, and yes. I was quite successful, however, at just enjoying life, singing like a strangled cat, and dancing even when people were watching. But I tend to be like that, anyway.

But this year, I've decided to class myself up a bit. I know you're shocked to discover I'm not the epitome of cool, detached elegance. So am I. It's a wretched way to start the day. Perhaps if I were more Audrey Hepburn and less Bridget Jones this wouldn't be so difficult. I've known for a while I wasn't the classiest dame out there but was having too much fun to care. But this year I want to give it a try. I resolve to become a classy gardener.


The Bridget Jones movies always make me laugh. I relate embarrassingly well to her gumption, silliness, and willingness to speak her mind.

As with most resolutions, my awareness that I needed to change was made stunningly clear last year. After finally realizing there were TWO Christopher Lloyds and that the mad scientist from the movie Back to the Future wasn't living a double life as a dead British gardener, I was able to bluff my way through conversations about garden design and history.


Gardener


 Not a gardener

But I finally hit rock bottom when I had a notion to add more sweetbox  (sarcococca hookeriana -pronounced sar-COKE-co-cah) to my garden. Having grown this shrub in my garden for years, I should know how to pronounce its Latin name. Should - let's just emphasize that. Since many shrubs have common names that are only common in certain areas of the country, I decided to use the Latin name to make sure I purchased the right plant.


I no longer refer to sweetbox by its Latin name. Ever.

It never occurred to me when I opened my mouth that I would butcher and destroy the name so badly the polite, reserved horticulturalist helping me would burst out laughing and then try desperately to control himself.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: Where's your sar-COCK-cah? I really like them and was looking for a big one.
Him: Laughter
Me: Oops....



American Gothic at the Casa
Does imitating classic art make you classier?

The only problem with this resolution is I'm not sure how to become classier. Garden in matching outfits that have been sprayed with Teflon to repel soil and sweat? Whisper 'Oh my!' instead of shouting words that rhyme with truck when I impale myself on sharp objects or trip over my own feet? Maybe. Perhaps I'll sip Chardonnay from a lawn chair while a loin cloth clad Jeffery Dean Morgan look-alike gardens for me. So many options.... 

87 comments:

  1. Hmm think I would have had a hard time not laughing at that also. But what the hey, we pronounce things the way they look when written. Happy New Year!
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. I definitely set myself up to be laughed at. It was a giant slice of humble pie, for sure!

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  2. Such a comical post again. Especially last photo: You look like a gardener dressed up like a 'lady of the night' , stabbing the first man pointing to her on the pitchfork.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. That picture is pure silliness. I put that outfit/costume together just for this post. The skirt is actually a very modest knee length skirt that I wear to work. It's all bunched up around my waist in the photo. I wanted to make a joke about wearing something absurd -but matching - to imitate 'high class'. Plus, it's my own riff on a piece of classic art. That's why I'm holding a pitchfork. But I do look a bit menacing. I hadn't thought about it that way. My daughter took the photo and was laughing the whole time.

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  3. Never mind pronouncing Sarcoccoca, spelling it is pretty impossible too. All those c's.
    Is that your usual gardening outfit? Well, best summed up as - 'Neat, but not gaudy' as my Granny used to say. Mind you what she'd say about that outfit I really can't imagine.
    Chloris

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    1. My usual gardening outfits are so bedraggled and stained that I would never have my picture taken in them! The boots are a bit of a running joke from a post I did last year called Portrait of a Gardener. I can barely walk in them and thought I was going to fall down the stairs. I wore that outfit just to be funny.

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  4. Too funny, I'd like to see you actually gardening in that outfit! Have a wonderful New Year!

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    1. I would fall right over, Terry! Happy New Year to you, too! :o)

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  5. Just be yourself crazy lady! We loves yer just the way you are :-0)

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    1. Thanks! I find being 'normal' just too much work. :o)

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  6. Nie zmieniaj się , bądź sobą również w 2014 roku, który niech będzie szczęśliwy dla Ciebie !
    Do not change, be yourself also in 2014, which let him be happy for you!

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  7. You gave me the first belly laugh of 2014!

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    1. Hooray!! I was a little worried about how this post would be received. :o)

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  8. Haha! Really made me giggle, and that photo of you is wonderful!! Have a great fun and creative 2014:~))

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    1. I never dress up for Halloween but I love putting on goofy outfits for this blog. My family thinks I'm insane,which is nothing new. :o)

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  9. Wait, what? That's not how you pronounce that? I'd like a big one too. You've chosen a resolution for the new year that I know I would fail miserably at. Fortunately, I *think* you're being sarcastic. I hope you embrace your lack of refinement (it's over-rated) and remain as uncouth as ever.

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    1. I burst out laughing at your comment!! Truth,sister!! This post is slightly serious, but mostly sarcastic. I yam who I yam. :o) I am really looking forward to some seriously unrefined fun at the Bloggers Fling.

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  10. Pretty funny. I regularly butcher the pronunciations myself. For Christmas my brother gave me Latin for Gardeners by Lorraine Harrison. It looks pretty good, entertaining even. In the meantime, keep singing and dancing and I look forward to reading your posts in 2014!

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    1. Thanks!! I just bought that book from Amazon. :o) I'm usually pretty good with Latin pronunciations, but when I say them badly, I say them really badly!

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  11. Even with pronunciation guides I habitually butcher botanical Latin. I reserve its use mainly for garden posts, where readers can believe that I know what I'm saying because I'm not actually speaking. I'm glad to have you back from your hiatus as your glorious, funny self. Dare I ask if you use those boots for anything other than garden posts?

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    1. Awww, thanks! They rarely come out of the closet for anything other than these posts! They've made a few special by-request appearances but are just an accident waiting to happen since I'm a klutz. :o)

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    1. Me, too!! Your comment came through twice so I deleted the second one. :o)

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  14. That is one heck of a garden outfit lady. Class is overrated, fun is where it's at :)

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    1. I thought the scarf gave me a more serious look. ;o) The shirt says 'Hanging with My Gnomies'. I'm just a sucker for goofy fun. :o)

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  15. You'll have to lose the scarf when it gets hot. Maybe by then, you'll score a classy hat. Love the arm socks.

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    1. I actually have a very classic, proper straw garden hat with a huge brim that I wear in the summer. I probably should have worn that in the photo! :o)

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  16. Y'know what....I don't know where to start! I'm spitting my coffee and wrecking my lappie here laughing! Please don't do the classie crap, you are perfect as you are, and given I've just found you....WHY on earth would you go and spoil my fun.....rock on girl!!!! I see I'm in for a rollicking good year. I've only just backtracked on your blog.....LOVIN' your dogs. Maybe you could help me keep my new turf safe from my two! Like the screened off areas but have no clue how to do that with my manic border collie....xxx

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    1. Considering many border collies have the intelligence of a nuclear physicist, all I can say is good luck! My four dogs together have the brains of a potato. Unlike border collies that need several full time jobs to keep them busy, mine are blissful underachievers. Maybe if your collie had a large, neurotic animal to herd he'd feel better and less inclined to destroy your turf. :o) I assure you I'm as goofy as ever. Prim and proper just aren't the way I roll. :o)

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  17. My eyes are wide! That's some outfit, um what do the neighbors think? LOL.

    Go girl, you garden any way you like. Best of 2014 is yet to come.

    Jen

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    1. They were all at work! But I'm pretty sure I give them plenty to talk about. :o) I created that outfit just to be goofy. The chances of me actually gardening in it are slim. :o)

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  18. Ok You gotta stop...your killing me!!!!!! You really know how to throw amazing zip into the world of gardening and I seriously think that you need a regular column where you can share your wit and gardening know how! I was rolling with your conversation with the horticulturalist! No joke I could so envision that conversation!!! Love that shot of you and the fact that you too scream words that rhyme with truck!!!! So glad to have met you!! Nicole

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    1. I was actually pretty embarrassed when I realized what I'd said, but I just played it off. I figured I'd given the horticulturalist a good story to tell. Gardening can be so stuffy and prim. PUHLEEZE!! Life is short - I just wanna have fun! There are two little kids that live on either side of me so I'm trying to mumble things like 'cluck' and 'ham' instead of what usually comes to mind. :o)

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  19. Well now Tammy, I think you've really got it going on with those boots, the pitch fork and the elves. Or whatever the hell they are. I agree with the person above....you need a regular newspaper column! Leave it to you to find these weird plants I've never heard of in my life (which isn't saying much now that I think about it....) Here's to another rip-roaring 2014. Susie at life-change-compost

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    1. The shirt says 'Hanging With My Gnomies'. :o) I want to crash a very proper garden club meeting wearing this outfit, except I'd strap on a tool belt full of trowels, etc, and paste on a few fake tattoos. Such fun! Sweetbox (I'm avoiding the Latin) grows very well in your climate. It's a low growing evergreen shrub with highly fragrant late winter flowers. Writing a column would be fun! :o)

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  20. You are the Garden Fashion Star! Happy New Year!

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  21. Nice to see that you are just as crazy as ever - with warmest wishes for a a successful gardening new year.

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    1. Thanks! Life's too short not to have fun. :o)

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  22. You look like the new Boadicea to me. All you need is a chariot and all those guys from the horticultural centres will run for the hills. Go get em girl.

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    1. I like her! One chariot, please! Order up! Just make it a big one. ;o)

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  23. You look nice in these cool boots, Tammy. Happy New Year, dear!

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    1. Thanks! I only wear them when I want to be silly for this blog. :o)

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  24. I don't know how many times I've mispronounced botanical names over the years. That's why I like Fine Gardening's pronunciation guide on their website so you can actually hear the word pronounced. And what a great sense of humor you have. You always make me smile! I do have two categories of gardening clothes: the back yard wardrobe and the front yard wardrobe. The front yard t shirts are slightly less tattered and stained.

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    1. I need to give that clothing idea a try. I tend towards baggy gardening shorts because they're so comfortable and just try to make sure my butt isn't hanging out when I'm in the front. I also need to check out that pronunciation guide the next time I attempt a Latin name I'm not 100% sure of! :o)

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  25. Oh Tammy, you are too funny.....please don't ever change for 2014.
    I absolutely ADORE that classy photo of you....needs to be hung in a prominent space in your home....that is priceless.

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    1. Awww, thanks! My family has to endure my silliness on a daily basis. It might be best to keep me off the walls! But they did see the picture and had a good laugh.

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  26. OK, now I have an image of you sitting in a lawn chair with a cocktail...wearing that outfit...while watching Jeffery Dean Morgan (in his loin cloth) prancing around among your Roses and Clematises. ;-) Hmmmm. You're "classy" in my opinion, Tammy. Please don't change!

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  27. Woo-hoo! Actually, Mistah Morgan is a big manly man so he'd be pruning the clematis while flexing his muscles. If he started prancing, I'd fall right outta the chair laughing. Face first in the grass laughing like a hyena probably wouldn't do much for my image but considering he'd be in a loin cloth, we'd be even. I don't see change on the horizon. This die is cast! :o)

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  28. Tammy, I don't think you want to be any classier than you look in that picture. As it is, your plants might simply not recognize you. They might react badly - the last thing you want is your sarcococca to wilt.

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    1. If my plants could roll their eyes, they probably would. :o) Actually, I keep them fed and watered so I think they love me. My sweetbox is too stalwart to stand for my foolishness and wisely grows on the side of the house facing the street where my appearance is a bit more proper.

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  29. Never a dull moment at Casa Mariposa. Happy New Year! ♥

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  30. Hi Tammy, I love that last photo of you! That is hilarious and outrageously cool and brave! Now please dig a hole in those boots ;-)! Happy New Year!
    Christina

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    1. I'd probably break my ankle if I tried to do anything in those boots besides stand there. :o) Have you ever heard people talk about choices in the context of "someday I'll do this or that" ? I decided a while back that life is to short to wait for someday's. I'd rather just live fully right now, even if it means I look silly. :o)

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  31. Oh this was great! Thanks for the laugh:)
    Happy New Year!

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  32. Oh, yes, those boots....how could we forget? If anyone could pull off a .mispronunciation like that with a sense of humor, I am sure it is you. You must be the most fun teacher ever! I agree with the comments about your needing a weekly column!! Some of us can take this gardening thing too seriously. Thanks for reminding us to keep it fun!

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    1. I also take my gardening too seriously sometimes and I drive myself crazy. But life's too short not to have fun and poke a few jokes along the way. :o)

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  33. I am still smiling...you have taken gardener class to a hole new level.

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  34. A friend's father asked for "Cotton Easters" in a nursery and I can see where he was coming from ! There are certain plants which I will always purchase through the power of mime, rather than mispronounce their name!
    Happy New Year to you!

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    1. I used to think that was what they were called, too. I need to try mime. It might be better than my Latin. :o)

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  35. Oh, is this not the place to find you sipping wine in a loin cloth?? HAHAHA!!!
    I think you are a very classy gardener. It seems hard to believe you may cuss more than me!

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    1. I'll be in the boots while Mr Handsome is in a loin cloth. :o) I try not to cuss but I fail on a daily basis. I'd flunk Miss Lady's Charm School in a hot minute but it would be so much fun! Wanna come along?? :o)

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  36. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing). Too funny, again! I had to save the post for a Sunday afternoon read. Who named that plant anyway? More than one opportunity for double entendre. It is, however, perfect for my garden conditions.

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    1. It's a great plant even if the name is a bit of a mouthful. ;o)

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  37. Priceless. Did the guy at the garden center blush?

    Around here, where gardening is being stabbed with rose prickles and sliding down slopes, the words that rhyme with "truck" are so plentiful you'd think it was a brothel. Don't tell anybody.

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    1. He's a friend so I don't remember him blushing but he kept chuckling about it while helping me find shrubs. He had a hard time looking me in the eye, which just made it all funnier.

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  38. Happy New Year! I love the portrait with the pitch fork! Very new-age-American-gothic. As far as I can see there is no need for improvement- your plenty classy already! I think we all butcher a latin plant name at one time or another.

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    1. I decided modern Gothic had to include the boots. :o) I've been wanting to recreate that piece for a while and decided this might be the best opportunity. Perhaps if Latin were spelled phonetically, it would all be easier to say.

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  39. Well, I mispronounced Scutellaria in front of Tony Avent.

    Imagine the most awkward and unattractive way to pronounce a word, and that's usually the scientific pronunciation.

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    1. How do you pronounce that? It looks like scoot-ell-aria to me. Tony Avent seems to have a pretty funny sense of humor so hopefully he just rolled with it. :o)

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  40. With your wondrous boots, you could give being classy a try, but I wouldn't worry about it. Classy folks don't have near as much fun. And its hard to be classy when you have sticks in your hair and dirt under your fingernails. And by the way, I can't pronounce that latin name correctly either. I think it is some kind of tongue twister.

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    1. I often come in from the garden with leaves and such in my hair or stuck to my clothes. My family is so used to it, that I always wonder how long I've gone with bits of the garden stuck to me. :o) When I see pristinely clean gardeners, my first thought is that have a garden staffed by gardeners but aren't a real gardener themselves. They are simply the owners of a garden. That's not nearly as much fun!

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  41. Even when I saw "sarcococca" right, the folks at the garden centers don't seem to have a clue as to what I'm talking about.

    But it's ok if they're confused, since I'm usually asking for "Sarcococca confusa" :)

    Happy 2014!

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    1. The horticulturalist I was referencing is a 100% genuine smarty pants plantsman who really knows his stuff. He immediately knew which plant I was referring to and knows me well enough to know I'd survive being laughed at. :o) But I've often gone to nurseries and discovered that I knew more than most of the staff. But any plant that has 'confusa' in the name just begs for a little botanical befuddlement. :o)

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  42. I like your last suggestion the most. Except probably after 5 minutes of admiration I would get annoyed with something and start nagging. Unlike you, I am completely hopeless.

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    1. Hopeless? I don't think so! Your garden is exquisite! :o)

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  43. Even though Zsa Zsa was not the look you were going for, Tammy, I'll now be humming the theme song to Green Acres all day. Yes, my imagination really is that bizarre. Happy New Year and glad to have you back!

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    1. So funny! Fabulous connection. :o) That show always cracked me up. I think she would have loved the boots.

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