Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Garden - Part 2

As I wrote in April, I am not a fan of crouching in the sun and digging in the dirt. I've tried to be, but the reality is that I'd rather be sitting on the deck with a book and a drink. But what we want and what we get are often two different things, as my dear mama was wont to point out when I was growing up. Once again (Rats!) it turns out she was right.

In my quest to have the carefree yard and garden, I am faced with the reality of the work it requires. Specifically, part of the work is keeping the yard out of the garden. It's a mystery to me how the lawn grows where you don't want it to yet it resists growing where you do want it. Two summers ago I had the misfortune of losing two 60 foot elm trees to Dutch Elm disease. Big bummer as they shaded my house and yard. Even bigger bummer was the $5000 it cost to have them craned out of the back yard and over the house. (In the luck department, my neighbors got it that year. Their disease-ridden tree was in the front yard, technically on city land so the city paid for removal and replacement of their tree.)

The point of this little sob story is that I have two large spots in my lawn (5-6 feet in diameter) where the trees used to be and the grass is resisting growing. Grass seed, covered by mulch filled with grass seed, water, babying, more water...Finally the grass is beginning to come up. On the other side of the yard the grass has freely crept into the garden - a good foot and a half. So, it must be dug out.

So far I've spent 3 full days re-establishing the border of the garden by digging out the sod and putting in edgers. It's slow going. Dig a four foot section, pound and cut and shake the dirt out of the sod, place the edgers, and back fill with the dirt. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Three days of work and I'm one-third of the way done.

And that's just the edging. There's also the weeding. Some of these weeds have roots the size and shape of full grown carrots. It's incredible! After the weeding is spreading the Preen, laying down the newspaper, mulching on top. And the certain knowledge that no matter what you do, next summer (or even later this summer) you'll be back out here in the sun pulling weeds and cursing the gardening gods.

So here I sit, sore muscles, sore back, sunburned shoulders. and swollen hands. The section that is finished looks great. The section that isn't, doesn't. Of course, the "useful lesson" is easy to see. "Sometimes getting the good thing requires pain and hard work." Blah. Blah. Blah. While I know it's true and I know I'll feel a sense of accomplishment when it's finished, in the moment I simply want to whine. But once again I hear my mama's voice in my head with the reminder that whining will get me nowhere. So, time to slather on the sunscreen, grab the shovel and an edger, and get back to work.

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