The Obessive Neurotic Gardener loves blisters

I love blisters. I absolutely adore them. I enjoy the painful sting when they get wet in the shower. Why you ask? Because the only time I am fortunate enough to receive them is if I’ve spent countless hours outdoors with my trusty spade. And if I’ve spent countless hours with my spade, well that means I spent a good part of my time in the “happy zone”.

Back in June, I made a promise to myself that I would extend the garden bed around my back deck and have it completely planted by July 12th. That was the day of my son’s eighth birthday party and I wanted to show off to all the invitees. This doesn’t sound like a huge undertaking, but with a full time job to contend with and two very active young children, it felt like an insurmountable task. That is until I found the time I needed.

Admittedly, I am not much of a morning person, but I quickly learned, that all changes when you are doing something you love. I made a vow to get up each weekday morning at 5:00 AM for four consecutive weeks so I could address this “blank slate”:

As you can see , I used an extension cord to lay out the preferred bed shape. Easy enough. But now the challenge – how to remove the dry compacted lawn immersed firmly in the impenetrable clay. Bring on the blisters!

I made good on my promise to get up at the crack of dawn each day and did so with my gloves, a bottle of water, a wheelbarrow and my aforementioned spade. I attacked the task like a caged animal and it could not have been more enjoyable. The sweat, the dizziness from dehydration and the bugs in the eyes were all worth it. This was the “happy zone”; a place where I was firmly entrenched in my element and doing something I love. I even considered giving Oprah a call to share my enjoyment with her and tell her that I felt the universe answered my call.

I finished the “job” one day before the birthday bash and I was thrilled with the results! The bed is a mix of evergreens, deciduous shrubs and perennials and I hope it will “pop” even more this upcoming summer. I will add some bold annuals to the mix for instant color and contrast to the existing flowers.

This “labor of love” will hopefully help me complete some other unfinished beds throughout the yard this upcoming season. I feel the beautiful burning of the blisters just dreaming about it.

Quick profile – I am 38 years old and contrary to popular belief and stereotype, reside in rural New Jersey (yes it exists!) I have been obsessed with gardening since my wife and I bought our first house thirteen years ago. I have an 8 year old son who despises gardening and a five year old daughter who just might follow in her father’s foot steps. I tend to favor ornamentals but jumped head first into the edibles world last year and loved every minute of it.

You can read more about my failures (usually more interesting) and successes at the garden blog of John Markowski.

~~~ Thank you John. I’m a huge fan of your website. John Markowski is listed at Best Garden where you can find more garden blogs in your state or zone. Thank you visiting I’m glad you did.

Anna is the Garden Blog Editor for and you can see her personal website at Flowergardengirl~~~

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