Monday, May 14, 2007

More Trouble in the 'Hood

Please allow me to dispense some garden wisdom. If by chance you should sell the property housing your current garden and move across the street, never ever look at that garden again. Approach your new home from the other direction. If you must drive by, avert your eyes. Do whatever it takes to shield yourself from witnessing the inevitable carnage that will occur.

I have absolutely nothing against my new neighbor; in fact I met her briefly at a party a few weekends ago and she was lovely. I frankly could care less what she does to the house; I let go of that attachment years ago. I don't even care what she does to the garden. I just want to get my stuff out first.

Another neighbor, Mike, asked me why I didn't take these things when I moved in the first place. I didn't take them because I didn't think it was right. You don't move from a place and take with you every living thing in the ground! It's actually against the sale contract. You're not supposed to take light fixtures, either. I did move many, many special plants, but who transplants a big old suckering bottlebrush buckeye? Well I did, yesterday, but I'm getting ahead.

So. Yesterday started like any Mother's day would. I wandered out into the garden with absolutely no agenda but to let my short attention span guide me through the day. Bliss! I was happily puttering when my neighbor Judy from across the street wandered in to return some items from the aforementioned party (we do a lot of this kind of wandering from yard to yard on my street). She then asked if I'd noticed that all the plants had been ripped out of the front yard of the house across the street and were sitting in garbage bags. Well, I hadn't, but I tore over there like a maniac, and she was right.

In a previous post I talked about rescuing the hellebore from that same garden, but I was under the impression that everything that was left after that first cleansing session was to remain intact. I had also heard that I was welcome to go get out the prized (expensive!) hostas from that bed, but, my own fault, I hadn't gotten around to it. I forgot, actually.

Judy helped me load up the garbage bags into her cart and we dragged the whole thing into the way back of my yard to sort through it all. Judy wanted a few lily-of-the-valley pips of which there were thousands.

We dumped these bags into the cart, which worked perfectly for sifting.

I wasn't prepared, though, for what I would find in the bags. I thought there would be, you know, plants. Plants that had been dug up. In the case of the hostas, maybe plants that had been chopped a bit in trying to get them out of the ground. I was not expecting pulverized plants. It was as if my neighbor had some kind of a personal vendetta against the hosta.

Neighbor: "
My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Hosta: "..." (Speechless.)

Upon further reflection, I can only assume that there was a rototiller involved. Anyway, we dumped out the bags, and this is what we got:

Can you tell which are the lily-of-the-valley, which are the bloody cranesbill and which are the sought-after hosta?

After about an hour of sorting (Judy gave up on me), I ended up with a gallon container of shredded, tiny bits of hosta. About 30 bits.

Since the leaves are all torn off, I can't tell which is which, so I'm going to pot them up and grow them on for a year, then find them suitable spots in the garden.

And so I've learned my lesson. If I had been a day or two earlier, I could have saved myself���������and the hostas���������a lot of pain. If I had chosen to ignore the situation, well, ignorance is bliss, right? One thing's for sure: I wasn't going to see this happen to the 5 x 5 bottlebrush buckeye I planted in the back 10 years ago, or my lovely, mature asparagus patch, or the 100-year old peonies I rescued when another neighbor put up a fence....

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