Penance for Failure to Walk

The computer screen clearly showed a big blob of rain just at the edge of our property, about to move over us with drenching rain. I fell for it. Knowing it was a sure thing, I went right back to bed instead of going for a walk. As it turned out, it never did rain here, although son $ said it was raining on his porch when he called me. I reasoned that people are always saying you can count gardening as exercise, so I put on my new hat and ventured into the garden. I was so confident of success that I took a “before” picture, not thinking how dreadful I might look later.

060215 Going into battle

I was pleased with the hat. It was not only green, it was the least expensive one I’d seen while idly looking in every store recently. Anything would seem reasonable after looking at the price of hats in the Biltmore garden shop. In other stores, pretty and reasonable were not adjectives you’d link together. The label said it was crushable, so I assumed washable as well. I donned the hat and sallied forth. Ready or not, garden, here I come! Amy and Beth, prepare to be impressed!

Yesterday I gave the wisteria a haircut around three edges of the pergola. For the last few years, I always watched for wisteria blooms in New York, enjoying the pretty flowers and sweet scent near the millpond. I even went so far as to declare it one of my favorite plants. While trimming the forth edge today, I realized the previous owner Pat had ruthlessly cut down the shoots around the bottom. That wicked wisteria knew I didn’t know what I was doing last fall and made the most of its freedom, grabbing for land in every direction. Each time I straightened up, I saw more tendrils with takeover tendencies. Whack! Whack! Take that! And that! Stealthy vines and leaves were everywhere. Having learned last time that walking on uneven ground was asking for trouble, I piled everything on the stones under the invasive plant. Let it give shelter to its own dead army until I could ask John to move the mess.

060215 Wisteria grave
Wisteria branches looking like a fresh grave under the pergola

The hat was even more trouble than the vine! I bought it to shelter my face from the sun and keep the hair out of my eyes. It actually did both, but was it worth it? I bent down to cut vines slithering near the base of the pergola, then straightened up. The hat brim hit my back, knocking it forward over my face. I pushed it back with my arm. The action was repeated over and over — knocking forward, pushing back, forward, back, forward, back. I looked like a broken action toy that had only one set of moves left. I tried keeping my head down for longer periods. Because of the effect of pollen on my nose, the front brim was in danger of becoming a nose drip collector. A real gardener might have ditched the hat and used clippers to teach the hair a lesson. Not me. I unleashed my frustrations on the vine. If I’d had a saw, that horrid thing would now be history.

I slung the loppers over my shoulder for a victory lap through the unruly garden. The plants were supposed to cower in fear, but I’m sure the daisies were snickering. They know they are going to win in the end.

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