We now have what is known as a ‘mature’ garden. Not quite sure how that happened. It seems like only yesterday we were planting some little bitty shrubs and mini-trees and were distressed because the place still looked so bare after we’d made forays to a few nurseries that it prompted us to go out and buy more, and more and more stuff.
I don’t know why I was so naive about it all. I mean, I have had homes and gardens before so I know how the process works. Process: Plant little stuff, little stuff gets a bit bigger and looks kinda cute and inviting for a few years, little stuff erupts into a monumental goddamn forest of shrubbery that could feed the needs of a small logging operation, or so it seems.
You see, plants (not unlike teenage kids) grow exponentially. That is, you have a bitsy plum tree seedling and it grows up a li’l bit the first season. In your exasperation you can be excused for thinking that you’ll die before it shows any substance. But, fear not, because exponentially means that whatever growth has taken place will keep on multiplying, so the bigger the plant gets the bigger it wants to get – and it will do just that. So now we have two plum trees (that produce bugger all fruit, I might add) that seem a bit like sequoias in their grandeur. Did I mention that they produce bugger all fruit? Yeah, I did. But it feels like I need to mention it again.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon we went out to tackle the garden a tiny bit. (The garden pictured is not ours, by the way, but it might well be.) A dreaded chore. I mean it’s the time of year (a process that begins in August) that one has come to genuinely loathe one’s garden and one wonders what it would be like to live in a highrise apartment.
Neither here nor there, however. Back to the garden. Yesterday’s shufty about the grounds revealed that our worst fears had indeed manifested and what would have demanded the labors of little garden secateurs in the past were now at chainsaw stage.
“I want to take that damn yellowstick dogwood out,” Wendy said. “It’s all over the place. Are you good with that? Oh, and the laurel, too. OK?”
I was not only good with it, I was prepared to fire up the saw.
“Let’s go on a rampage,” I said. “Now I know how Attila felt. Let’s smite plants left, right and centre”
My problem with smiting is, however, that I develop affection for certain plants and Wendy and I don’t always agree about which ones are adorable. So, we try to compromise. Sometimes that works, and other times I lie awake distressed at how I have heedlessly wronged a plant despite the fact it raised up the side patio with its roots, ruined one chunk of underground sprinkler that had to be replaced at considerable cost, and looms threateningly in the direction of the foundation of the house.
Being a mature garden is a bit like being a mature (some might say ‘old’, but not I) person. Not quite as cute and vital as when young, but still possessed of virtues. One doesn’t go up to an ancient oak that saw the Romans land in Britain, or a Redwood that was around when Jesus was in Jr. High and say, “these trees are old; let’s take the sumbitches down.”