I thought I’d take advantage of a weekend of returning hot flashes and venture into the chilly spring weather for a little yard maintenance. Better now than on a sunny day, when I’ll have more pressing things to do, like chase squirrels away from my strawberries.
My yard is divided into many areas of concern: an expanded vegetable and fruit garden, far from manicured lawn and Asian garden motif complete with pond. (We inherited the pond from previous owners.) I’ve been plugging away at the Asian garden for years, and it’s finally coming together.
Our house was built in 1927 and many of the trees and shrubs were planted at the same time. The oaks are older than that, and, I take it, pre-dated our neighborhood. These original trees and shrubs are the bane of my existence. Although we are only the fourth owners of this house, it appears that little shrubbery maintenance was performed over the last 80 years, leaving us with a tangle of aging sticks someone once called bushes.
Overgrown bushes are not a pretty sight. The first year here, I tried (in vain) to dig out an enormous and completely unruly golden forsythia, one of two miscreants on the property. Little did I know that the offending shrub, now a balled-up tangle of sucker shoots and dead limbs, had been in residence longer than I have been alive. The bush won the initial battle, but I won the war. A handyman with two friends and a backhoe took care of that thing.
On the other side of the yard was the forsythia’s sister. It’s over eight feet tall and ten feet wide, but has a shapelier form. I decided to keep that one, and began to trim it back. But the bush pushed back, making me more and more angry. I ruined two mediocre shears on that one, before becoming super-pissed, when I took a small hacksaw and began to chop willy-nilly.
The result was horrifying. The shrub looked much like my daughter did when she decided to give herself a haircut in preschool – not presentable at all. Unlike my daughter, who needed a quick trip to Fantastic Sam’s for a little adjustment, I gave up on Forsythia. Besides, the &$*@# bush was in the far reaches of the back yard, where I could choose to ignore it until the following spring, when its blaze of yellow flowers would remind me once again that the bush was in the lead.