Monday, February 8, 2010

Well I'll be.

I had THE funniest damn thing ever happen yesterday. There's a little old lady who lives down the street from me. We "Hidee" each other every now and then. She's not the friendliest thing, but after four years of me hounding her, she's kinda just given up and now she's almost, almost chatty with me. I was out in the front yard finally distributing the last of the mulch (that's been sitting there for two seasons now) when she walks by. I said hello and she slowed down to peer in at me.
"You got a big job there, don'tcha?" she says
"Oh, I sure do." I say.
"What are you doing?" she says.

"I'm spreading the last of this mulch."
"What about all the grass?"
"Oh, well, I'm trying to get rid of all the grass and just have mulch."
"Uh, well, mostly for environmental reasons, but also because it's almost impossible to keep any grass or plants with these big dogs and the two live oaks with all the shade."
"Well that's real nice about RETIREMENT, but what about the way it LOOKS?" (OMG could you DIE? Environment = retirement)
(Trying not to fall over laughing) "Well, I actually
like the way it looks."
"Well I'll be."
And she walks off.

Isn't that just the most hilarious thing ever ?
This has prompted me to admit something that I've been mulling over in my head for some time. I have decided to admit, once and for all, that I am
not a gardener. I am a yardener. That's my new moniker for myself. I like to putz in the yard; I like my yard to look interesting and different; I like it to be somewhat neat and tidy; I really, really like it to be environmentally sound; I do not really like to fuss and fawn over plants. I'm OK with this. There is much to be said for yardening. Now, I do have some plants and I really like them. I do plan to have more, but I'm feeling good about letting go of the pressure to be a "real" gardener. From now on I'm not going to make any more excuses about the lack of plants in my landscape. I'm just gonna keep on mulching and making paths and hauling rocks from Hancock and feeding the wildlife and making yard art and sticking free stuff in the ground and hoping it lives. (I'm being a tad facetious here in case you couldn't tell.) Honestly, I like plants that are invasive so I get lots of bang for my buck. I like beds with the same plants over and over so they look full and tidy without me having to think too much about it. I like stuff that doesn't need any babying (other than my "baby", of course). I don't really like a lot of variety in my yard. I already have a variety of 586,988,485,999 pieces of plastic toy crap in it that I pick up almost daily...that's all the "variety" I need. Here's an example of my yardening:

Look at this crazy thing in my yard? I think it's a Photenia. Who can tell at this point? I was going to cut it down when I first moved in, but then I realized that it's a squirrel and bird haven and it provides shade for 1/2 of the east side of my house. Now, this is Austin. I'm not cutting down big shade just for style. Any self-respecting gardener would have hacked it down asap, but a yardener, like myself, will just look the other way and appreciate it for what it is - ugly shade.
I know just what you're thinking - Well I'll be.


  1. I think I am a yardener too. Wouldn't you just know that? I hate grass and I love invasive plants and the ones that pop up because I want to see what they look like when they grow up. I resuce half dead plants for twentyfive cents at the very back of Lowe's on a dead plant shelf they keep back there. I love your new word..and I love you.
    Ms Mudd

  2. Our landscaper pal, Jeremy, who is a "real gardener," never cuts down trees unless they're diseased or about to fall on your house! I think a lot of folks feel that way, too. They're just too valuable to cut down unless they're doing damage. I love my ugly mulberry trees for the shade they provide and I don't even hate the hackberry trees along our yard's perimeter because they provide green shade and privacy from our neighbors across the creek. Every tree is a good tree.

  3. Mz Mudd, we are indeed kindred yardeners. You know what else I'm calling myself these days? A yardist. Yard artist. You FO SHO are one. I need to see your new house!

    Nell- absolutely! My lot is rife with hackberrys and MAN do they provied shade. They're also huge so they kinda dont even look like hacks anymore. xoxo

  4. I live in deep East Texas and am the only person within 1,000 miles who loves Tallow trees. When you say Tallow tree to anyone their eyes roll back in their head and they have to go to bed with a vinegar rag on their brow.
    We get lots of rain where I live and sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can hear the Tallows growing and multiplying and sure enough: the next morning there are 16, 591 more of them. Bless their little hearts.

  5. Oh Mama, that is just SOOO funny and TRUE. If we could learn to make cars run on Tallow and Hacks, we'd be zillionaires! I LOVE "vinegar rag." I'd forgotten that.

  6. There's nothing wrong with being a yardist or a yardener. Yard art is fun and obviously you are enjoying your yard. That's what matters.

    Your neighbor is pretty funny. Laura

  7. Laura put it so well in her comment above that I can only add: Do what you love and have fun in your yarden! You don't have to live up to anyone else's standards or expectations. Isn't that a freeing realization?

  8. HaHaHa! I can just hear you talking with your neighbor and hiding a chuckle.

    One of my favorite quotes: Do what you love...Love what you do!

  9. Hey I love tallow trees too! They are the only ones around here that show lovely color in the fall. A yard without trees is a sad sad yard. I don't mind the mess they make. It's all mulch to me - right where it falls.


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