4.22.2009

Why Home Ownership is Highly Overrated

I have a confession to make. I despise yard work. There. I've said it.

There was a time, in the distant past, that I enjoyed working in the yard. I loved the feel of the earth between my fingers. I enjoyed weeding, trimming, planting and mulching.

Few things were more satisfying than standing back and admiring my hard work. Looking at my nice clean edges, perfectly trimmed shrubs and thick dark mulch made all the effort worthwhile.

Let me tell you. Those days are long gone.

Through the years, things have changed. My first big shift came several years ago. I quit planting annuals, and adopted an "if you are going to survive in my yard, you will do it without any help from me" attitude. I planted perennials like Black Eyed Susan's, Echinacea, Daylilies and Peonies instead.

I spent three entire summers weeding, staking down countless layers of landscape barrier and throwing truckloads of mulch in an effort to halt the spread of weeds. When that was unsuccessful, I sprayed gallons of Roundup on the vile weeds, only to watch them become greener and more chemical resistant.

I used clippers, hedge trimmers and even a good old-fashioned chain saw to attack the bushes that grew at an alarming rate. I became reckless with these tools, sometimes even hacking entire bushes off at ground level and then daring them to grow back. They always did, with a vengeance I might add.

I grew disheartened as I watched plants grow to three and four times their maximum expected size. I burned untold piles of trimmings and branches in the designated spot in my yard. I became weary with the endless growth of weeds that needed to be pulled every few days.

Through it all, I tried to keep a happy face. I told myself that all the work was good exercise. That it made the house look lovely. I convinced myself that our neighbors were appreciative of all my efforts. All the while, the frustration and discouragement was growing in my heart.

Today, I am finally able to admit that I have been defeated by my Tennessee landscape. I now understand why my older, and seemingly much wiser neighbors, have opted to avoid landscaping and mulch all together. They planted a few hardy shrubs and have allowed the lawn to grow right up to their foundations. It's pure genius, I tell you.

Despite all of my frustrations, I have decided to give it one more try. Stocked with an overflowing array of toxic chemicals, a variety of high-powered yard tools and some pine needle mulch, I am going to give it one more try. I am hoping that the pine needles will decompose at a much slower rate than traditional mulch, thus smothering the weeds for an extended period of time.

I can always hope.

If you happen to drive by my house and see me hard at work outside, don't bother to stop. If today is any indication, I won't be in much of a mood to talk. I will probably spouting off an endless stream of complaints, colorfully interspersed with an occasional curse at the seemingly unstoppable weeds. It will be best to just leave me alone.

I am off to go dig a few dozen splinters from my aching fingers. Apparently heavy-duty gardening gloves are no match for the devilish thorns on my Barberry bushes.

2 comment(s). Leave yours!:

Heather said... Best Blogger Tips

As you well know, I am the President of the Don't Give a Crap About the Yard Club. Honestly, if I get the yard mowed often enough so that we don't qualify as the "scary house" in the neighborhood, then I've done my share. Join my club. I always welcome new members.

mshike said... Best Blogger Tips

I actually passed by your house today and saw you outside working in your yard---I almost stopped, but, had a crying baby in the car. Glad I didn't, :0) I learned long ago to ignore the yard except for having to have it mowed....to much work...and it doesn't last very long!! Bet you wished you joined me for lunch today...huh? Just kidding!! I'll just smile and wave at you next time I pass by!

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