Monday, May 18, 2009

Just Another Day in the Garden

This has been the Time of the Garden. Not that I don't pay attention to the garden at other times--plants have this tendency to die if one doesn't water them from time to time--but this month I've been doing all the springtime stuff: trimming back, weeding, rearranging, emptying and scrubbing the pond-in-a-pots (Or is that ponds-in-a-pot?). Most of the attention in the first few weeks of frenzy went to the front yard, where there are roses that need a little bit of trimming as they start coming back for the spring, fountain grass that will take over if it isn't carefully culled periodically, an enormous salvia bush that had just about succeeded in smothering the Kangaroo's Paw, one of the aforementioned potted ponds, and various other little stuff needing attending.

But it's in pretty good shape now, if I do say so myself, and finally reaching that nice, established look that gardens only get after they've had a few years to settle in.

Yesterday, I turned my attention to the back yard. Most of it is covered in cement, so my sister and I built the garden up with lots, and lots, and lots of potted plants plus a couple of raised beds. Like the front yard, it's getting a good established look, and like the front yard, it needs attention from time to time. Unlike the front yard, it has to have almost all the plants moved around from time to time so that someone can sweep under and around them to remove the huge drifts of dog hair that accumulate back there, trapping drifts of dirt and leaves to form a strange, felted mass. Oh, and as special bonus, rats have been known to crawl back behind things and die--well, one rat did, and I found it yesterday, but that was quite enough.

So that is what I spent yesterday doing--pulling the pots out, sweeping, and rearranging. I also cut back, and in one case removed, some geraniums that had gotten overgrown and leggy over the last couple of years, found and threw away the rat (without screaming but with much "ewwwwing"), took cuttings off of the kalanchoe, and generally tidied up.

Dad came out to move a couple of the bigger plants and took a few more fronds off the giant killer-palm tree out back (Never, ever, ever buy a palm tree without checking into how big it grows; this one started out a cute little fellow in a five gallon pot and is now a towering monstrosity with foot-long spines at the base of each leaf; it's an attractive monstrosity, but far, far larger than an urban backyard needs). Between us, we filled the giant garden bin full to overflowing, stuffed the worm bin with sweepings, packed our reserve trash cans, and started in on the regular trash.

At which point, my sister (not the one in Mexico), called to say that she was pretty sure she'd thrown out a recently purchased item by mistake, and would I mind checking the trash to see if it was there? It should, she added optimistically, be near the top because she'd only put it in last night.

And, instead of doing what a sensible person would do (I.e. telling her "It's full of leaves and dust and kleenix and there is a dead rat somewhere in there and I'm not going near it unless the item in question is the Hope Diamond and you plan on selling it and splitting the proceeds with me, and maybe not even then"), I said sure, I'd look (not very graciously, but without mentioning the rat, which she still doesn't know about, unless she's reading this, in which case, she does now), and went and took all those dusty palm fronds and other stuff out in search of the shopping bag.

Part of me knew, just knew what would happen as soon as I had looked:

Sure enough

She phoned again to say that, after all, she didn't think it was there, she was pretty sure she'd left it somewhere else and would get it.

So I put everything back into the trash, sprayed fungicide on the roses, and went to take a very hot shower.

And after the very hot shower and a cup of fairly hot tea, I went out to admire my handiwork.

It looks good.

Very good.

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