Gardening While Married: To Weed, or Not to Weed? That is the Question.
To weed or not to weed? How could that be such a charged question? It’s a no-brainer to me. Ditto for my husband. But there’s the rub. We come to different conclusions.
We are simpatico on nearly every issue. Politics. No problem. Religion. Not an issue. Money. We jive. But weeds? Where I see invasive interlopers with flying seeds and unruly roots, Gary sees lush green. And when I clean squatters out from around my perennials, Gary cries “scorched earth!”
Our conversations go something like this:
Katlin: I can’t find my daylilies.
Gary: They’re there. Just wait until they bloom.
Katlin: The roses can’t breathe.
Gary: We shouldn’t grow roses.
Katlin: Vinca is taking over the yard.
Gary: Vinca? What vinca?
So imagine my chagrin when I opened the weekend Wall Street Journal to find a massive feature story “Why We Must Learn to Love Weeds” by Richard Mabey.
The article invoked Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” That would be Gary’s point of view.
The WSJ piece also mentions my stand: “They (weeds) are plants that sabotage human plans. They rob crops of nourishment, ruin the exquisite visions of garden designers, break our codes of appropriate behavior, make unpleasant and impenetrable hiding places for urban ne’er-do-wells.”
That’s certainly what I found in a recent campaign against unwanted garden guests. They were blocking my plans (and plants), robbing my perennials of nutrients, messing up my garden design and hiding legions of disgusting snails .
At our first house, we found a simple solution. Gary took the backyard. I gardened in front. I can’t remember who tended the sideyard. It didn’t matter. It was a tiny, easy-care yard.
At our current home, that all changed. We have gone out of our way to create a very high-maintenance yard. And we share landscaping duties throughout the multiple garden beds.
So how do you cope with a split household on the subject of weeds? This may sound rather sneaky but it works for us. I suggest that Gary go do something that he loves like, for instance, sailing. Then I move in with trowel and create botanical dig sites throughout the yard, unearthing my beloved plants. Here are a few before and after photos:
A few of the backyard beds:
One of the new perennial beds:
From the frontyard:
It’s not that I’m hiding my eradication efforts. The weeds end up in a very obvious pile in the driveway. Then Gary comes back from sailing a happy skipper and hauls them off while I enjoy a drink on the patio.
Got any better ideas? I’m listening!