Tuesday, August 4, 2009


When I was growing up, I lived on a street called sycamore. I have come to realize that this was ironic, since there wasn't a one sycamore tree on the whole damn street.

In the backyard of the house on Sycamore Street, we had a berm of myrtle. Myrtle looks and behaves suspiciously like english ivy in that it grows fast (even faster where it isn't supposed to be growing - sort of like kudzu in the south) - and covers up a lot of ground. Could that be why they call it "ground cover"? So apt. But apt or not, myrtle is actually Satan's play toy. Myrtle is evil.

Every so often - or about twice in a summer, my mother called upon us girls to do the most heinous chore I can recall having to do on a regular basis during my youth. Weed the reef o'myrtle. It must be noted that my mother also once asked (demanded) that I wade through shit in our basement when a sewer drain backed up in to the house - - and shit-wading absolutely trumps myrtle weeding - but that was a one time event not to ever be repeated. I don't care how much shit backs up in to my basement. But myrtle weeding was recurring wretchedness.

I cannot guarantee this, but I have a notion that my sisters might agree that this was the worst chore ever. Worse than raking leaves, worse than shoveling snow, worse even than taking the giant pooper-scooper and ridding the back yard of english sheep dog doody. Why?

Myrtle creates the perfect umbrella for other living organisms. It creates a lush green blanket under which numerous creepy crawlies can not only live but THRIVE. In order to weed the myrtle, you needed to get up in it. You cannot address the myrtle from afar, you must wade through it, sitting, kneeling, crouching. You are then easy fodder for ants to crawl up your arms, spiders to run up your ankles and a whole host of other myrtle dwelling creatures to have their insectitudinal way with you. I shiver even now. Worst. Chore. Ever.

But, you will note in yesterday's posting of the photo of our new abode that indeed, I was unable to conjure up this terrible memory in time to consider it before the purchase. We bought a house with a front yard full of ivy. A mountainous mound, a behemoth berm, a hellacious hill, a frickin whale of a giant dune of ivy. Yes, ivy. Myrtle's cruel and merciless cousin.

Today I weeded the ivy. 50 years of never trimmed or controlled coils and snarks of deep dark creature hiding greenery. Memories of myrtle weeding assaulted me, especially since my new neighbor, Margaret, told me this morning that ivy-makes-a-perfect-little-home-for-mice-and-geeze-wasn't-it-funny-but-she-saw-a-couple-frolicking-in-there-just-last-night-what-a-super-move-in-gift! Thanks Margaret. Some new neighbor you turned out to be.

Dismally, I realized that I did not bring along my wellies in the "stuff that is necessary for the new house". This should now be another bullet point on yesterday's post. These would have been perfect. I could have slipped on my wellies, rubber-banded them on the top, velcro-ed my heavy duty gardening gloves over my long sleeved sweatshirt and girded myself again the assault. But no. The second part was o.k., but my no-wellies solution was a pair of black knee socks and a pair of lace-up oxfords. Stunning ensemble. Not nearly as effective a large knee high rubber boots, but it was gonna have to do.

Thanks to my new pruning shears the work was fast done (except for this atrocious wheat-like weed thing that was pull one little sheath at a time nonsense). I finished the work without any obvious attack of garden creature large or small - although my back has been "phantom" itching like there's something there, but not. Holy ant itch batman!

The good news is that that is the first and last time I will ever weed the ivy. Even as we speak, numerous landscape architects, to the tune of $150 per hour, are putting their creative heads together and devising a keen and cunning plan to beautify the front of our house (post-renovation of course) having been given a clear and concise order that no ivy nor myrtle or any other fast-growing umbrella haven creating ground cover should be considered. That is unless a new variety of said ground cover has been developed that repels all forest creatures and insects. In that case, it may be considered in small areas. A tiny parcel where, just in case the repellent fails, any and all weeding can be done from afar without stepping in or among the flora. Or (ding!! Idea light-bulb) I will send the boys out to do it. There's nothing like traditions that are passed down generation to generation. Lekhaim!

1 comment:

Chris said...

Plow the earth with salt. Kill it all.