Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mulch Ado About Nothing - WARNING: This post may be offensive to true gardeners

After my swim this morning I came home and helped my wife do some work in our yard before it got to be too hot ("too hot" is a relative term because at 8:00 a.m. it was already over 90 with the heat index and about 90% humidity). The last couple of weeks, we have been removing some old tree roots, planting new shrubs, trimming and grooming plants, and I have personally spread down 70 (yes, SEVENTY) bags of mulch that are 40 lbs. each on our landscape.

What I am trying to figure out is simply this... At what point is this supposed to become therapeutic? I am hot, sweaty, covered in dirt, I have mulch and dirt that falls into places in my shorts that I can't discuss, and just try using a pair of large garden shears to lop off hundreds of branches that are chest high and higher after swimming a couple of miles. I have friends who love working in the yard and always talk about the thrill they get when they put their hands in the earth. I suppose I am as confused by this as they are when I tell them I am training for an Ironman. My extent of yardwork expertise stops as soon as I have edged, used the weedeater and mowed. When asked about what I've been planting, I just say "shrubs" because to me that's what all of it is. If they want to know more detail than that, I tell them that I think the Latin name of what I'm planting is "Backbreakus Laborius".

My all-time favorite gardening story occured one Saturday morning when I was forced to listen to a garden show on the AM radio for a few minutes while awaiting a weather report as I was driving somewhere. Now remember, I am always telling jokes and making fun of things, and I've done standup comedy and I love to especially do improv, and I've had more fun with this over the years than I can tell you. It was quite simply one question that an elderly lady caller had for the garden expert as follows: "Can you please help me? Somethin's chewin' on my red tips." I nearly drove off the road dying of laughter. I have no idea what "red tips" were or what she was talking about, but it has made for some great routines over the years.

I need to close this post now, I hear the weeds calling.

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