Nancy Daley
5 min readMar 2

It’s that time of year again.

I’m too lazy to deal with anything but “abandoned cemetery” roses. (Author’s Photo)

Up here on the top half of the planet, Spring is on its way.

In central Texas you have to keep careful track of developments, as our flora leaps into life with startling speed. Bare trees one day, a pale green curtain the next day, full-leaf in no time. Enjoy the shade while it’s still cool.

I’m a half-assed gardener. Well, I kept a gardening blog for years, so maybe I’m a three-quarter-assed gardener. I have never kept a garden diary and I can’t grow food, so.

At least I can grow herbs, and yesterday I made Marcella Hazan’s pesto because my daughter was coming over for lunch and I should not be alone with a pound of farafelle glistening with basil, olive oil, and pine nuts. If you love pesto, check out Marcella’s recipe for pesto with pasta, potatoes, and green beans.

When we first moved into our house the landscape had been sadly neglected, and the strip of grass between sidewalk and street was a weedy waste of full sun. I had to apply to the Homeowners’ Association to create a new landscape, but am happy to report that by this time many of those stupid grass strips have been replaced with something interesting.

I asked my spouse to roto-till the roughly five-by-one-hundred-feet area, and so the “sidewalk garden” was born. Before he commenced the job he asked whether that part of the yard was connected to the sprinkler system. I told him it was. He said he didn’t think so.

To this day I cannot imagine why we didn’t push a couple of buttons to test it out, but Floyd was the one who would have to replace the roto-tilled PVC pipe, so that was on him. Many wives feel that life would be hella simpler if husbands would just listen to us.

In any event, a stretch of new PVC and a boatload of compost later the space was ready to be filled with native and well-adapted plants. Hence the search for rose varieties found in old, abandoned cemeteries; they’ve had exactly the level of care I wish to provide. I mean, a gardener has to have at least a couple of roses, no? Might as well pick ones that will thrive on their own.

Over the past ten years the sidewalk garden has become a neighborhood favorite, especially in spring and early summer — a long stretch of color with something new to see every…

Nancy Daley

Artist, food-worshipper, grouch, retired psychologist and uni lecturer (Human Sexuality). Currently running for Queen of the Universe.