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Friday, March 28, 2008

For the weekend: gardens, bugs & antimacassars


I will tell you why I smelled of salad dressing yesterday.

In January, I grew annoyed with the sound of blowers and having my topsoil all blown away. Though I tried to work with them, explained to them, the economics of their jobs demanded they mow and blow. It's part of a larger problem, being that for the most part, gardeners aren't trained. All bushes are clipped the same, and it's not unusual to see botched tree trimmings. So I let them go. Admittedly, after having such a magificent garden at my old house, when I moved here I couldn't get up the enthusiasm for more work outside. But now that I'm sans gardener, it's time to get with it and make it more than Home Depot dull. Now, Louie and I have been out there each day......

Read the rest at:
Get Lost With Easy-Writer

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

all you have too do is work with them a couple times, remember they
do not speak the same lingo we do

Kanani said...

Note: For those of you who say, "work with them," I offer you this.

Many years ago, when I was a child, we had wonderful Japanese gardeners. Gardening was something they knew --it was in their heritage, it was in Japan, their artforms, their entire way of living. They're gone now.

The old gardeners knew their plants, they knew when and how to prune. They did this without my mother or father going out there and "working with them." It wasn't uncommon for a gardener to haul his tattered copy of Sunset's Western Gardener Book and consult it, nor was it unusual to see him sharpening his tools, or leafing through a book on pruning.

However, now we have gardening service contractors, who get unskilled labor. I don't know how much they pay them. A lot of them are illegals. They don't stay around long enough for you to teach them the names of plants, the proper way to prune. And guess what? Most homeowners wouldn't know either! Anyway, I understand why they mow and blow. It's because economics demands it. However, what I'm doing is turning a dull yard into art, and for this... well, you either have to fork out big bucks to the lady who charges $25/ hour (there's one who comes in next door) or you do it yourself. Fortunately, I know plants, I've done this and I don't mind doing it again.

But it is a shame that we have the mentality of "just work with them," when a different generation went out and bought books and learned it themselves.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I have a used brick sidewalk leading from the driveway all the way to the front door. For many months I would ask please do not use the power edger on this path it damages the bricks, It would always be forgotten or ignored. So I told them there services were no longer needed. I spend many hours a month in the yard not only for the typical chores, mowing the lawn trimming the plants etc. but it is fun. It is theraputic to stop and listen to all things in the garden. Last month I discovered a hummingbird nest what a treat to watch,the babys flew away last week. We have lived in the same house for twenty years now and every year the swallows return to the same place on my house to build there nest. After a few months it naturally falls because it is mud and grass.
Dont get me started about the frogs..My goodness at night when it gets dark they go nuts.

MR.OC

Kanani said...

Frogs? Really? What a treat! You must live by a river bed. I wish I had frogs. Instead... well, I can clearly hear Brea Bl. down below me!

My big struggle now is breaking up the clay soil. I've been adding amendments and chopping out huge tree roots. I come and and I'm exhausted! Today I'll go split the agapanthus. I have loads, so I'll scatter them about the yard.

Yeah, it's fun. I kind of think we've turned into a nation of lazies with all the stuff people hire out for --housekeepers, gardeners. All the stuff we used to teach our kids to help us with.

Anonymous said...

Frogs.. yes to many to count. I live less than 100 yards from a real natural creek, oaks and sycamores in and surrounding the creek. Mistletoe in the trees the size of cars.The frogs always croak year round but this time of year they are unusually loud because of the rain. They like my pool too. The smaller frogs in my yard are the loudest. They are as loud as barking dogs.

Dont be discouraged it takes many years to have a beautiful garden.
Costco often has great deals on plants, green thumb, walmart too.

MR.OC

Kanani said...

Hey MR.OC,
I know it takes years. It's what I did with the garden at my old house... years and years, and truckloads of mulch and shredded trimmings from tree trimmers.

We bought an house built in the 30's. We've been fixing it up, and the yard wasn't something we could afford to do at the same time. Basically, nothing had been touched for many years when we bought the house, and it fell to us to do a lot! We bought the house from the son of the old lady who built it way back when. She died at age 95, then it was a rental for 12 years. So this yard will come together gradually. I'm not one to do it all at once. I have a very nice row of lavenders (french and spanish) I've put in the hot portion of the garden. Also, have been hand pruning some azaleas & camelias planted in the 1950's and will get to sorting I remember mistletoe in trees. We used to have to cut it down in December or else it would kill the trees!

The soil is awful. I'm going to be digging up and amending for years! But I love it.