That's what my mom called it. She would take clippers and a trowel and "work at random," as the dictionary puts it, among her plants and bushes. Only thing is, her puttering didn't seem so random. She knew when her little asparagus were going to poke up and knew exactly where to trim her shrubs' little limbs. My mom didn't do much at random. She always worked, though, never being one for watching soap operas.
She loved the unmelodramatic story line of greenery. Well, one time it got very dramatic. That was the morning she woke to find that someone had dug up and hauled away newly planted bushes on the street side of her yard. When she replaced them, I believe she stayed up the next few nights at the window with her dad's shotgun.
My mother was serious about gardening, even though she called it puttering. I'm not sure I will be. I'm more of a not-work-at-random kind of guy, especially when it comes to taking care of plants, lawns and yards. That's partly why I sold a house with three-quarters of an acre of land two years ago and bought a condo with a 300-square-foot patio.
But condos make you feel old, and now I feel old enough to start puttering in the garden, which supposedly makes older folks feel young. I'm sixty-one and it's time to try growing tomatoes, like my mother and grandfather before me. Got to do something before 5 o'clock and the early-bird special. That's why we're abandoning the condo, and the illusion of owning property, for a house with a good-sized yard mostly covered with tree bark, low maintenance plants and very low-maintenance rocks.
It's time bring in some high maintenance plants, and see it they survive this puttering putz.