A Valuable Lesson

For months, possibly even years, I have a secret (and sometimes not so secret when I’m really frustrated) desire to have some gardening help. Someone to help mow lawns, to prune, weed and mulch and most importantly they would do the gardening  the way I wanted.

Towards the front of the block

Tractor Mowed. Solar Panel in the background – I hand mowed around both sets of panels so Elise wouldn’t risk hitting and breaking them.

Today I did have gardening help in the form of Elise.  It was very good of her to help me -although she really didn’t have much of a choice. We have having an early Christmas Party here this weekend for about 20 friends and we want to have it outside on the lawn. The weather has been amazing -crossing my fingers it will be this weekend – and it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  So today Elise drove the tractor with the mower deck while I pushed the hand mower around and collected lots more grass clippings which are now residing on several garden beds.

Near the Pool

Between the Pool and the House – always hand mown as I can see it from the Dining Room and the Pergola….. I know…. I’m fussy.

I discovered that I am becoming incredibly fussy with my lawn and in particular the way it’s mown.  It’s not a good thing to be so fussy and I’m probably shocking you all by admitting it but finally, after many years the lawn nearest the house and pool is starting to look like the lawn of my dreams.  Green, lush – in lots of places, semi smooth and relatively weed free.  It probably won’t last (especially with the hot weather still to come) but while it’s there I’m enjoying it.  Now I’m almost hesitant to tell you this but today I made Elise mow a  couple of sections of the lawn – TWICE!!!!!!  In my defence I didn’t think they were mown properly and yes she did give me that “look” but she did mow them again. If I wanted to be really super fussy I would stop typing this, rush out and start up the hand mower and redo those bits of lawn – but I’m restraining myself.  It’s difficult…..I don’t mind admitting that.

Lawn where the party will be held.

The Lawn around the Clothes Line which will be folded up for the party. It’s lovely and shaded during late afternoon and really the best spot in the whole garden for a party.  

Mowing done we moved onto a little pruning. Nothing to strenuous …just “Cut this here Elise”…and she did. The trouble was where Elise cut was six inches away from where I had indicated. Ok so I’m fussy here too but after years of tending my plants I know where I want stuff cut.  To make matters worse I kept thinking of all the times I have had Ashley help me prune and he uses a chain saw. I tell him to cut something and he would – right where I wanted it.  Actually I think it was fear that I might grab the chain saw and have a  go myself.  There is one tool that Ashley will not let me play with and that’s his chain saws.  Probably a very wise idea now I think of it.

Mulch disguises many gardening sins

Milly posing as usual next to the bed we covered with mulch to hide a multitude of sins.  One day that dead bit of lawn behind it will be lush and green too.

After pruning came weeding – as it always does. One path right near the house (photo above) is right next to where the guests will walk out onto the lawn.  I turned around and there was Elise digging out plants (not weeds!) left right and centre. Luckily what’s in there is tough and will regrow given water and time – so in the end I dumped a couple of loads of mulch on that bed and pretended it was deliberate.

So what lesson did I learn?  Tthat quite frankly I am far better off gardening by myself. While the rest of the family regard it as a chore for me it is very precious minutes of pure peace.  I can think of nothing nicer than wandering around, secateurs in hand, snipping off dead heads of roses into a bucket to go into the compost bin.  Mowing lawns is a (somewhat sweaty and physical) delight and the slow pace of hand mowing allows me to observe what needs to be done in the garden.  Even weeding, mammoth chore that is it in a garden of this size, can almost be pleasurable as I clean up a bed, lay down plenty of mulch and dream about what new plants I can put in.  While I certainly did appreciate Elise’s help – and you have to keep in mind she doesn’t really “garden” – I don’t mind admitting that I did say to her that I had discovered I don’t like gardening with her or anyone.  She just smiled and said “that’s ok – I don’t like gardening at all, least of all with you”.

It’s a good thing we agree on something.


5 thoughts on “A Valuable Lesson

  1. Boy! did you ever leave yourself wide open to Elise’s rejoinder.
    I’d forgotten how long your garden is to the front fence. The side fence is new to me also.
    I can see your friends enjoying the party in such lovely surroundings and hope you all have a fabulous time.
    hugs, Maureen

  2. So nice for you to have some help! A little fussy! Glad it is not only me, particular is another word that could be used! Sometimes I wonder if it is deliberate for it to not be done quite right!? Looking great!

  3. You sound like me…I like nothing more than to just wander out there alone, dreaming of what next. Btw your water iris are all budding up again.

  4. The lawn and gardens are looking good. I know what you mean about being fussy but have to admit that I grab help whenever I get it. Unfortunately for me I seem to be the only one who really knows what is a plant and what is a weed so when it comes to that chore it’s a convenient excuse.

    John did help a bit with the garden this summer and as a result we had tomatoes that were staked properly and hence better quality tomatoes. Unfortunately they were put in late or we would have had more of them but beggers can’t be choosers so they say.

    Hopefully I’ll get more work out of him next year and it will be better looking gardens and more productive as well.

  5. I am equally neurotic about lawns. Mine had to be missed last week as handyman was away and I am also neurotic about weeds but still have to be a bit slow in attacking stuff.

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