When we first moved into our house back in the early 1980s, we never did any gardening or landscaping at all. We mowed the lawn and that’s it. As the kids got older and we had time to breathe, we noticed that our yard looked like… crap. Not good. So we started to pay attention to our gardens.

These days, we (and when I say “we,” I mean George) sculpt out our gardens, weed, put mulch down and fertilize the lawn. We have decorative planters and benches and birdbaths and bird feeders and solar lights and garden flags and all kinds of cool yard stuff.

Our backyard is really pretty in summer (thanks to George). But in order for it to be pretty, we have to go flower shopping.

My idea of going flower-shopping is to go to Bountiful Gardens on Lower Ferry Road or Timothy’s on Route 130 with a list of what we need for each bucket or planter or spot in the yard.

I see a plant I like, I read the little tag on it, and then figure out where it will go in the yard. I somehow always forget to look at the price. I consider the color, shade or sun needs, height, deer-resistance, blooming time. Not price. I load up a flatbed cart (pushed by George) and we’re off.

George, on the other hand, has begun to look at price before anything else. While flower shopping, he has brought me hanging baskets that look like dried flower arrangements; withered and dry with no hope of buds, and said, “Don’t you think this would look good on the blue shepherd’s hook by the shed?” I look at the price and it’s $2.99. My response is: “The Ewing EMT’s couldn’t revive that bad boy.” Back it goes.

We were buying flats of vinca flowers at Bountiful Gardens the other day. I was picking out the perfect color blend of individual vinca plants with no regard for price while George was doing mental math calculations and counting the stalks in the vinca hanging baskets to see if it was cheaper to buy the baskets and split the plants than to buy individual plants. (It isn’t cheaper, by the way.)

There was a hanging basket of gorgeous yellow and light orange tuberous begonias that I fell in love with. George hated it. But, it was only $22. That was halfway acceptable to him. (I think the heat got to him that day.) So we got it.

There were other hanging baskets there that I loved (price range $22 to $45) but George was having none of that.

Last year, George got all our hanging baskets at Shop-Rite. Yes, Shop-Rite. Either Pennington or Olden Avenue, whichever had the most decent-looking baskets. The reason for this is because they were $4.99. Truthfully, they ended up being healthy baskets that lasted into the fall, so I’m not complaining.

But. He now refuses to buy hanging baskets for more than $4.99 (my $22 begonia basket was an anomaly). The man has now been to every Shop-Rite in Mercer County looking for healthy hanging baskets.

With the gas he’s using, we could have commissioned a professional landscaper to come in and do all our planting. I think he’s going to start searching Shop Rites in Middlesex and Burlington counties next. I told him there was a Shop-Rite in Nebraska that he missed.

The next hurdle is keeping the wildlife from eating all the flowers and the birdseed.

The deer sneak in at night and eat the hostas and hydrangeas and drain our bird feeders. Now the squirrels are starting to play games with George. One of them will get up onto the bird feeders and tilt them, so that the seed falls out onto the ground, where his siblings are waiting with dinner napkins around their necks.

George has clapped, yelled, run after them, to no avail. They sit in the trees, chewing their birdseed and pointing and laughing at him.

He wants to get a water gun and spray them next. So not only will we have a great yard in which to relax, we also have entertainment.

A girl can’t ask for more.