Getting Dirty

I’m not going to lie. Starting a date with a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates, moving on to a fancy dinner with wine and a decadent dessert, and ending the night with rose-petal strewn sheets is romantic as hell.

Other things rating highly on the romance scale? A significant other who throws in a load or three of laundry without being asked, or does the dishes if you cook, or thinks it’s sexy to get dirty–outside.

It’s spring, when a young man’s fancy gently turns to thoughts of love…of tomatoes and green beans. Technically we have another month to go before we plant, but the snow is gone so it’s time to prep the garden beds. I need to  pull the weeds that have sprung up since the spring melt, loosen the snow-packed dirt, and dig out all the little critters who made their winter burrows in my topsoil. Then I can get to the gardening portion of gardening.

Shovelling wheelbarrows of topsoil and weeding isn’t innately romantic, but spending time with the object of your affections is, no matter what you’re doing. Fortunately for me, we both enjoy gardening. (I almost said being outside, but that might lead to camping, and I’m too old for a no-electricity, no-running-water, mosquito-filled campsite.) A yard – even a small one – is a big job, and it’s much easier to keep it in line with two people. When it comes to gardens, one person can keep them running, but two is more efficient. Plus, puttering around in silence has its own charms.

Even better, puttering in a vegetable garden leads to vegetables in the second half of summer. Also romantic? Cuddling on the sofa planning out where to put a new garden and what to plant in it. Cooking said vegetables together is another great couples activity (unless your kitchen is the size of a postage stamp and you are constantly in each other’s way.)

I’m going to get lots of gardening in this summer. I’m redoing my front flower beds; the perennials currently there are out of control, so I’m pulling them all. I’m also putting in a new vegetable garden in the back yard. My list includes: tomatoes, raspberries, zucchini, carrots, green onions, green and yellow beans, and peas. And maybe something green and leafy.  Oh, yeah, my garden brings all the rabbits to the yard 🙂

So, gardening. All kinds of romantic. Sadly, it’s not a common setting for books. Ranchers, yes. Farmers, less so. I don’t write either. I do have a florist and a landscaper coming up (in separate books), but that’s as close as I’ve come in Romancelandia.  If you have any that you’d recommend, please let me know in the comments.

(This post originally appeared on the Romance Eh? Canadian Style blog. Over a dozen Canadian romance writers post about love and life every month, so feel free to check it out.)