Ack. So, this has nothing to do with writing or reading, but I am a very new homeowner.

I’ve never had a yard before.

My mom is a champion gardener. I used to follow her around our old house at dusk, when the shadows were long, chattering away about band practices and play rehearsals while she watered her plants. The light was gorgeous and golden, the grass cool beneath my bare feet, the shadows long–my favorite time of day. I remember that fondly. But I never really paid attention to how she does it. Truth be told, I’m an indoors girl unless there’s a pool nearby and a book in my hand.

Still, something about a yard without flowers seems empty to me. I need to plant some stuff, preferably before our housewarming on Sept. 12. On Mom’s advice I’m definitely ordering some "easy care" pink shrub roses to plant along our iron fence out front.

But what else? I have a $200 gift certificate for White Flower Farm. I know nothing except:

I have a bizarre fear of nonflowering, viney plants. I don’t like to pass within several feet of them, much less tend them lovingly. (It goes back to this time that some morning glories got caught in my hair, okay? I swear they grew toward me and wound themselves up while I was sitting there innocently minding my own business.) 

While I do not fear them, I don’t like hydrangeas. And fragrant lilies make me sneeze. So, with those caveats in mind, any suggestions? For flowers or herbs or websites that will teach me not to be such a gardening dummy?

ETA: While you’re in an advice-giving mood, have any tips for painting? I think I’m going to tackle the bathrooms this weekend.

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