Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Border Wars

Mr. Lucky mows and trims the lawn. I pull weeds out of the flowerbeds. I hate doing it—in fact, I hate any kind of yard work, for all that I love a beautifully flourishing garden—but it must be done.

A couple of years ago he spiffed up the flowerbed in front of our house, adding a fancy brick border and covering the ground with reddish-brown rocks. He worked very hard on it and I’ve always liked what he did, especially adding the hibiscus and sunny alamanda bushes.

But this last summer, he got it into his head to expand the flowerbed by moving the bricks farther out. You can see from those reddish-brown rocks where the original flowerbed begins and the expansion ends—at least as of today:

Each time he goes outside, he shifts a few bricks around, saying the border either curves too much or not enough. Each time he calls me to come out afterward and admire his latest handiwork while he regales me with a detailed account of what he did.

“I pulled out these two bricks from over here, and put them down over there,” he’ll say. “I don’t want the border to be too straight, I want it to curve a little more, so I removed several bricks from over here and now I don’t know what to do with these leftover bricks.”

Not to worry. The next day, he figures out what to do with the leftover bricks: He uses them to stretch the flowerbed farther out. Again I am summoned to come out and praise his latest stroke of genius.

“But the border is too straight right along here,” he says. “So we’ll have to find some more bricks.”

And the beat goes on. The lawn is gradually becoming part of the flowerbed. In the meantime, he’s expanding the amount of space for weeds to flourish—and for me to pull.

For some reason, the weeds become more obvious on the flowerbed side of the border.

After putting Baby Bear on the school bus this morning, I went out to remove as much as I could. The sprinklers ran last night, so everything was still quite damp, and that’s when I learned something I never knew all these years: Weeds are easier to pull when the ground is wet.

As you can see by the photos, it doesn’t look as if I did much—but it looked a lot worse beforehand, and I filled a 13-gallon plastic bag! The green stuff pictured toward the front of the newly laid border was the lawn until about a week ago, and dollar weeds are already feasting on it:

My back still hurts from doing it. I know I shouldn’t bend over to pull them, and it’s death to squat. I didn’t want to sit on the bricks themselves as they had little ants scurrying all over them, and the last thing I need in my life right now is—well—ants in my pants.

I suppose I should accept that I’m getting old, and invest in some kneepads.

We still haven’t decided what to plant in the newly expanded place. I would like a flowering tree of some sort. He mentioned a birdbath. I like garden statuary (but no gnomes, please). And I love fountains and fish ponds, but we have to keep a few steps ahead of Aquaboy, aka Baby Bear.

I told Mr. Lucky if he keeps shuffling those bricks around and extending that border, before long there won’t be any lawn left for him to mow—just a whole front yard full of weeds for me to pull.

His reply? “That's the idea!”

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