Ramblings of a Gardner


I was going to call this posting, “Gardening Can Be Dangerous To Your Health, Part 2, because I am limping around like Walter Brenner, the character in the 50’s TV show, The Real McCoys. He was the grand father who had a “hitch in his gitalong” as they say in Texas. Because of all of the rain we’ve had here there is a bumper crop of weeds and the best time to pull these weeds is while the ground is still damp. Once everything dries out the soil becomes as hard as cement and, no kidding, I am out there with a pick axe to get big weeds up. The soil is still muddy and as a result, my gardening shoes have huge clumps of mud on the soles making it difficult to walk. Plus, I am wearing Maurice’s gardening shoes as mine hurt my toes now. I’ve had to stop wearing my glasses (bifocals) when I’m pulling weeds, especially on the hilly parts, as I don’t always look at the right angle through the lenses and have come close to falling several times. The seat of my clothes that I wear in the garden are permanently stained with dirt and weeds as I often have to sit down to pull weeds as trying to work on a hill does a number on my hip. Also, I am getting what I think is a carpal tunnel problem with my right hand due to that repetitive motion of yanking weeds out of the ground. I can hardly pick up a pan with it. God, I sound so old, don’t I?
I love it when a large weed pulls out of the ground with the pleasing pop, a long root still attached. I’ve learned dandelions have to have their root pulled up or they will regrow. Maurice has been really ill with a flu he caught from my grandchildren while we were in Switzerland and hasn’t been able to do much of anything but cough so I am on my own. I have huge mounds of weeds at the end of working and I put them in a wheel barrow and roll them down a hill and make a big pile behind a bush. You can’t see the pile from the road or our house but I know Maurice will have a fit when he sees where I put them. He burns a huge pile of plant debris at the end of each summer and I’m thinking he would like these in the area where he does the burning but but after working in the sun for several hours I don’t have the energy to get them over some difficult terrain. Maurice has the same problem with the way I “clean”. Sometimes I get tired of looking at a mess on a counter and I just put most of it in a drawer. If I can’t see it, that’s good enough for me. Of course, this drives Maurice mad. Then he says, “We need to clean out this drawer”. That’s marriage speak for, “You need to clean out this drawer.”
A friend suggested that it would have been better to have planted lavender on our land than the clover. Actually, the clover keeps us from having to pull weeds. We just sort of mow the whole thing once a year. We have lots of lavender around but, like anything planted, it requires constant weeding. Those beaufiul fields of lavender are packed with weeds unless they are in an area full of tourists then they get tidied up. I am constantly pulling weeds from around the base of lavender plants so they won’t grow up in the middle of the plant.
I know it sounds like all I do is pull weeds and in the middle of Spring and the start of Summer, it seems like that to me too. But the time will come when I can just sit on our porch, have a glass of wine and enjoy the view. Although I will get up from time to time to remove a snail that is intruding into my perfect view.

9 thoughts to “Ramblings of a Gardner”

  1. Oh, can I ever sympathize! We are burning weeds today and clippings from the trees and shrubs. It is an absolutely tower of debris. And we understand from the local Mairie that all must be burned before the end of June; or wait until Fall. It’s been so wet in France everything has grown to jungle proportions. And that means especially the weeds. I’ve never seen so many and, like you, got told I “can’t leave the weed pile THERE.” THERE being behind the ornamental cherry tree. And I say, “why not”? Anyone opposing me gets to move the pile. I handle weeds only once. I hear your point on the lavender. More weeds. No, you’re right impossible to contemplate. If only weeds had acceptable flowers and fewer thorns, I’d leave them alone. Don’t worry how you look either. The other day, covered in dirt, with the same clumps on my clogs you’ve described, I finally sank down in the veggie bed and planted the rest of the onions sitting on my — well you know. If I get any more exhausted someone will have to roll me into the bathtub at dusk, or better yet, just hose me down outside and I’ll sleep in the strawberry patch.

  2. Yeah, I use that marriage speak too 🙂 We need to clean the garage or , I want to paint that piece of furniture. After 27 years, Brewier knows exactly who, “we,” and “I,” are.

  3. Hi Linda, I can really empathize with you, on everything from the sore hip to the pesky bifocals to the pleasure of pulling up a big weed with a satisfying plop and the whole long root too! And the permanently stained weeding clothes…the past three days I’ve been donning my permanently stained painting clothes to do some sanding, priming and painting of my kitchen drawers–aching knees, back, and matching bruises on both forearms! Yes, the less fun things about getting old do make themselves obvious at times like these!

  4. OMG Linda – please take a break and stay home and play with the new mincer/chopper toy – it sounds less dangerous!
    I sure feel guilty complaining about my garden trials and tribulations which sound like a bed of roses (although I don’t actually have one – a bed of roses that is) compared to yours. And to think I was contemplating selling up here and buying en France, perhaps in my brother’s village. Well I could only afford a teeny tiny village hovel so guess I wouldn’t need more than a trowel to fix up a couple of pots of geraniums and an nice poisonous oleander for the terrace!

    Do take care dear – and hope Maurice is soon well and can help you pull weeds.

    Just bought tickets – will be in that village near Carcassonne where my brother lives for 3 weeks in October, yippee!

  5. The first three years or so at our place with just pulling weeds. And we had horrible little thorns, here they call them goat heads and after being poked about 10 times a person can get quite cranky.

    We are well past that now and have a great landscaped flower garden in the making. My roses look just fabulous. All together I think we have around 150 plants ~ all perennial flowers.

    Don’t give up, it is worth the work.

    Just remember the sign of a good gardener is a muddy butt!

  6. Gosh, that DOES sound a bit dangerous working on that hill. I give you credit. Not sure I could do that. So be careful. We don’t need to be seeing you here with a cast on your arm or leg!
    Those weeds are terrible! I thought I was SO smart….I’ve reverted to container gardening. And I do have a lovely garden around my fish pond, all of which are in containers and the other day, I looked and thought, “no!”…..yup, those pesky weeds have managed to somehow grow in my containers! BUT so much easier pulling from the containers than from the ground.

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