All Hail Mulch

Guest post by Zesty

Thinking upon the last weekend of May, there are words that spring to my mind. Words like ‘triumph’ and ‘omnipotent’ and ‘whupass’. For yes truly, as the phoenix doth rise from its ashes so too is my garden no longer a cover candidate for ‘Crackhead Landscaping’.

What was once a weed-ridden plot bereft of structure is now a dignified patch of uniform mulch, with a smattering of rose bushes here and yon. My friend Joe and I went out at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 30th armed only with two sets of pruners and one pair of gardening gloves.

Twenty compost bags later, we had it done like dinner by 7 p.m.

It’s amazing what you can learn about a neighbourhood when you’re out in it for most of a Sunday. Apparently the people directly across the street from us have been there for three years and moved to the neighbourhood about the same time we did. Who knew?

Our Sunday sojourn also provided further confirmation that our neighbours two doors down are not the kind of people I ever want to in any way shape or form spend any time with at all. There. Was that polite enough? Yes. Yes I think it was. It was a Sunday of family visits with pretty much all of them spending it outside in the front yard because smoking had been banned inside. I had heard through the grape vine that the matriarch of the family is very ill, due mainly to her chronic smoking. Funny how families react to these things, as if not smoking in the house now would make any difference. I suppose it?s the symbolism that counts. Sometimes that?s all you can do.

The problem for me is that these folks are dime a dozen beer pontificators. They sit outside with their brews and cigs and in between belches solve the problems of the world in that usually overly simplistic way people tend to go about it when the objective is not so much to solve the problem as to be regarded as having the one and only, how could you possibly see otherwise, solution to it. They were annoying and they seemed to make a point of talking about gardening in a booming voice. I shouldn’t be so critical. Wait a minute. These are the same folks who left a family dog in their backyard all day on Christmas. Yup. Scumbags.

At least one moment of comic relief presented itself, although I experienced it indirectly. I was away getting yet more bags of pine mulch while Joe was slogging in the garden. A neighbour walked by and remarked that it was so nice to see a new owner had taken over and was finally cleaning up the garden. And of course Joe being Joe said that he was just staying with us and that there were no new owners and that frankly we’ve had bigger fish than the garden to fry the last couple of years.

Of course when I heard this, I laughed and laughed and in the end really learned something. I learned that contrary to what I thought of myself, I am really not above finding the embarrassment of others to be funny. At last I understand the zeitgeist of magazines that torture celebrities.

Besides, it all seemed so silly really. It’s like when you gain twenty pounds and well meaning friends or family sit you down to have the ‘we’re a little concerned’ conversation, as if you haven’t noticed that none of your clothes fit anymore and your cheek bones have gone on vacation. People are funny. Yeah, thanks for noting that my garden’s been a dump. Heh.

So after two weeks, all seems to be well. Although the mulch seems to have inadvertently created a truffle buffet for local raccoons. When I first started seeing patches of mulch dug up, my first thought was ‘Dear God! I’ve created a luxury litter box!’ But no. Upon investigation, I discovered mushrooms underneath the mulch. Maybe I should leave some olive oil out overnight.

Now I have at least twenty packages of seeds to review. With my luck, they’ll all be things that bloom in late July, then nada. But I’m going to plant them and see what happens anyway. I can do this because Joe helped me regain a garden I can be proud of.

He was blowing dirt out of his nose for three days. That’s love y’all. That’s love.


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2 thoughts on “All Hail Mulch

  1. That’s really, really funny that Joe gave that gal the smack-down! Too cool! He’s a good person to have on your side.
    I know what you mean about the well-intentioned and highly unnecessary “advice.” My parents have been trying to tell my husband, who wants to work in academia and has a PhD, how to find a job. “Network!” Yeah – doesn’t work like that.
    And your neigbors with their out-loud tips… like you were going to walk over there and start asking them for advice on pruning? Puh-leese.

  2. omg! Those neighbours of yours sound like my neighbours who used to live next door! Almost every night when it’s semi-warm, you’d see them drinking lots of beer and smoking at the front driveway and being so loud and obnoxious. They leave people alone so we all tolerate them, but damn they make so much noise! And celtic music (they’re from the east coast) at 8am on a saturday isn’t exactly what I want to wake up to on a weekend.

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