We moved into our current house in March two years ago. What with all the unpacking and sorting out bus routes there was absolutely no gardening done that first summer. We did reflect on the fact that the flowers are lovely, and clearly someone with experience planted them – there was something blooming all summer long.
The second summer was the summer of benign neglect. We cut the grass mmm… twice and in our infinite wisdom decided to leave the clippings on the grass as compost. Yeah, well that only works when the clippings are not say, six inches long. What happened in our reality is that the clippings blocked out the sun and wilted much of the grass. The flower beds were weeded sporadically and not thoroughly and everything wildly bloomed and died without any interference.
This year I determined things would be different. Armed with photographic evidence and knowledgeable co-workers I got a load of advice on yard and garden maintenance, and on the first snow-free weekend scheduled my brother to come and help rescue the yard.
I was ready with all the implements of a well-equipped gardener: brand-new sheepskin gloves, secateurs, a rake and several garbage bags. I drank an imaginary brave beer and went to town. The first garden bed was a great success. I trimmed all the dead foliage, pruned all the bushes back, raked up all the debris leaving groomed black soil instead of the brownish messy tangle that was there. The second bed went much the same.
The third, fourth and fifth beds were in the backyard. The sunny, warm, welcoming back yard. It was such a beautiful day and every single spider in the vicinity was in complete agreement. I saw the first one sunning himself on a large rock, but it was just a baby, and I was determined to get over my fear. He scuttled away like he’s supposed to (in my books anyhow), and all was well. I was congratulating myself on handling the whole situation maturely and without undue hysterics. Then I saw his big brother. On the same rock that the little one was on – this one was at least three times his size, with gross big legs and excellent momentum. Unfortunately his sense of direction propelled him directly towards me, and with a girly shriek I moved quickly out of the way of danger. My resolve was shaken but not gone. I simply decided that bed can wait.
The rest of flower bed clean up went splendidly. I did what I do best and offered constructive suggestions from the safety of ten feet, while my brother finished all the work in my new sheepskin gloves. The beds look great, by the way.