The Coast News Group
Small Talk

The grass isn’t any greener over here

Well, the summer’s half over. I know this because I have cleaned up half of my garden. Just between you and me, I got a slightly critical note from the Homeowner’s Association suggesting my front yard wasn’t up to snuff. Don’t you just feel like trailer trash when that happens?
Did they notice my cunning hanging baskets by the front windows or the charming arrangement of potted plants, mostly still alive, and the tasteful yet quirky garden critter ornaments that lead up to the front door? Oh no. Did they appreciate my feng shui chimes and bells? Heck no. Do I get credit for saving the big hedge, between my house and the neighbors, from white fly infestation a few years ago? No, it’s all about right now with them. Tsk.
Actually, I got off fairly easy. It wasn’t the entire yard they were unhappy with, but rather a small, annoying plot on the east side of our driveway. It’s a spot that everyone sees except me. The high car count in and around my driveway (children and children’s friends) keep that corner hidden from my usual path. Weeds have a way of springing up over there and I simply can’t keep up with them. You carefully pull them out by the roots and six months later, bam, there they are again.
I don’t want to overreact, but I did take the “You are a loser with a horrible front yard” note seriously and set out to make amends. I needed the exercise anyway. Besides, weeding isn’t bad when you want to release some stress. Based on that, you’d think I’d be walking the neighborhood looking for other people’s weeds to yank. However, when you set out to dig up every single, solitary weed no matter how teeny, this 10-foot-by-20-foot corner of the yard suddenly looks like hell’s half-acre.
I crawled around on my hands and knees, getting therapeutically muddy and bringing death to all uninvited plants. I liken that to 30 minutes of reverse push ups, since many plants don’t come willingly. Next I had to sweep up, pick up and dispatch the now detached villainous plants and any trace of a seed they might possess. That’s a dozen deep knee bends and some upper arm work, right there.
My next workout set involved a trip to the garden store, where I pulled, tugged and schlepped four large bags of wood chips into my cart and car, hefting them again once home. I tried to find a way to lift them with muscles I hadn’t yet exhausted, but that meant picking them up with my teeth. Opening each bag, dumping each bag and spreading each bag managed to hurt all over, but at least it smelled good. I covered the offending area with chips that I hope dearly will smother weed proliferation in the near future. I know it won’t stop them all, but I may add an industrial-sized drum of weed killer to back it up.
I think it looks rather fabulous now, with the unhappy result of making the rest of the yard look a bit shabbier. I’m really hoping the two new palm trees I planted in the main yard will adequately distract the garden police the next time they roll by. They almost make up for the crabgrass.