Monday, August 4, 2008

The Master Gardener Returns

That's a little something we call "sarcasm", folks. I'm anything but a master gardener, especially as of the last 2 years.

I used to have lovely roses...We planted a bunch of them the summer after we moved into our house & I did a really good job of maintaining them. Spraying, pruning, removing dead or diseased leaves, weeding - Mattie & I were out in the garden almost every night for a little bit. The reward was an abundance of roses & occasional applause from our neighbors. Hell, my mother was even proud, & that's a pretty rare accomplishment.

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, then you've probably picked up that Doug & I lead very busy lives, especially during the spring & summer. I'd spell it all out for you...but it'd only make me tired thinking about it. So let me get to the point & introduce you to someone from my past.

Meet Tito, our pet weed from last year.


Now, you might be asking "How does someone get a pet weed?" Well, it's easy. In fact, one of the most effortless things I've ever done. Wait a minute - perhaps I should say that it's one of the most effortless things I have NOT done, because if truth be told, I didn't do a thing.

Tito was borne out of sheer neglect.

That's right - Doug & I ignored our yard all summer long & we're doing the very same thing this year. We pay the neighbor kid to mow, trim, & edge the lawn, but we've never really talked to the boy about gardening. Why would we? We're planning to relandscape the whole front yard so that it looks better & is low maintenance, & once we made that decision, we've only done the bare minimum. Well, up until these last 2 summers, when we've done next to nothing at all. I know, it's shameful.

Tito flourished from our carelessness. I didn't even notice he was there until he was up to the windowsill. That's pretty damn tall for a weed.

The product of our lack of attention became an object of fascination for me. I could've (maybe should've) plucked Tito out of the ground, but instead I monitored his progress, all the while amused at what the neighbors must think. I mean, this weed was getting really big & was actually flowering. During the hottest, driest part of the summer, I actually asked Doug if I should water Tito. We decided that weeds are resilient plants & that nature should take its course.

As you can see from the above picture, nature did just fine by Tito. The damn thing was almost to the gutter at the time it was taken. My heart swelled with pride.

Tito passed on last fall & we yanked him out of the ground. I was really relieved that he didn't take a chunk of our foundation with him! When that happened, we decided to not let this happen again, even if we didn't have time to re-do our landscaping.

Guess what? We've been busier than ever & haven't had time to touch the landscaping, & while pulling out of our driveway this morning, I spied what could very well be Tito Jr.

The circle of life continues.....


LucyinStLou said...

I completely sympathize! This year we ended up with about 3 such pets. We just kept thinking the lawn mower guy would get them "next time". Now they are so large, they must think they are native landscaping of some sort. Mr. Luce has discovered that it will likely take a shovel of some sort to get them out now. Sadly, our front landscaping looks really shabby as well. None of these things are at the top of my list this month. My neighbors will just have to deal...

Anonymous said...

Every Spring, I plant flowers in our flower bed, along the driveway, in planters, in our window boxes...and I swear that after dropping $150+ at Lowes, I really am going to take care of them this year. And every year, they are all dead by August. I'm always happy when September rolls around and I can rip out the dead flowers and plant some ever-resilient mums!

mxq said...

claire- are you sure that isn't a picture of my side yard and office window? because that's exactly what it looks like. i guess tito has some distant relatives in my neck of the woods.

Claire said...

Lucy, you're sweet, but I assure you, there's no way you'd allow your weeds to get quite as high as our Tito... I know you. =)

Kristal, I've often aspired to do that, but in the end, I just don't have time. Maybe someday...

mxq, I don't you work in my neighbor's house? 'Cause if you do, then you should drop in - I'll make you a Cosmo or give you some vino, & we'll have ourselves a lovely time!

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Too funny! This year I was determined to channel my Grandfather, a true master gardener, rather then his daughter and my mother, who we affectionately refer to as a mass murderer (of plants). Amazingly enough, I have a front yard filled with not so bad flowers, and a few pots of very beautiful green leaves (that I believe should be daisies). I have 12 foot sunflowers that have yet to flower, and tomatoes that look more like a bush (but are finally getting fruit!) I'm terribly surprised to admit how much I'm enjoying the garden and vowed not to take any trips next summer so I can (responsibly) grow more. This is actually not a bad thing; the only time of year to stick around Minnesota is the summer and a good garden will save vacation days for the time I need it most!

I am excited that Tito might have left you someone to remember him by. You'll have to keep us updated to his progress.

Em said...

Oh need a neighbor like mine - the obsessive-compulsive Coke Bottle Girl who has not only removed every blade of grass in her yard and replaced it with magnificent plantings (and mulch pathways through it all) but has also taken over care of the neighbors yard as well...since her plants overfloweth.

Me - my secret is planting pretty much unkillable perennials and so many of them that the weeds don't have room to grow.

But roses are way too much work - though I hear the new carpet ones are no maintenance.

I remember Tito and he looked like such a mutant I was hoping he'd turn out sterile.

Steve and Stepher said...

While you are childfree, apparently Tito was not similarly situated, alas Tito, Jr.

I think wondering whether or not the O.T. (Original Tito) needed water was pretty amusing.

Our front yard is landscaped w/perennials (in mulched beds lined w/river rock) living side-by-side with a variety of other living things I think look pretty. I'm sure some are weeds but you know what? They look good all mixed in there together so weeds or plants - it's all in the eye of the beholder.

Keep us posted on Tito, Jr.

Mary said...

Hmm-Tito must be native to this area to flourish in the sweltering St. Louis summer. That's the best part of living in a condo; I don't have to contend with the likes of Tito. Because if I had my own yard, it would be pretty scary!

mxq said...

you're funny! my home office, i meant- i live in kirkwood. if you live near kirkwood, give me a shout! i am always up for wine.


Claire said...

Bombshelle, 12 ft. sunflowers, huh? Wow...who needs trees when you have those? I've heard that impatiens can even thrive in full sun in MN, & that's pretty cool. But the winters...yeah, it's bad enough here!

No, Em, apparently Tito wasn't sterile. But maybe Tito's actually a girl - eh, I'm complicating things. But roses...yeah, those can be difficult, & I will be getting rid of mine once we, uh, get around to it. I might do the Knockouts, maybe not.

Stepher, I guess I looked at Tito like I would a stray dog or something. Doug's more hardcore, so we decided to take the hands-off approach. Your garden sounds lovely, by the way!

Ah, Mary...a condo would indeed be lovely, but with the 4 dogs? Not so much.

And Pamela, nice to know your name, although mxq is an interesting one to use. There must be a story there. Anyway, I grew up in Kirkwood, & now I live a mere 10 minutes away...

Jenn said...

I think Tito was just beautiful. I hope you gave him a proper place to be laid to rest...ha ha ha!

I think I have a few Titos growing in my yard, too. I'm with Kristal - I'm ready for my mums!

Oh, and mqx are Pamela's hubby's initials.

Claire said...

Jenn - you know Pamela, too? How much fun! MXQ sounds more like a sports car than a husband...hmmm, could be good for her! =)

Yeah, I think I'm funny.

Sadly, I don't know if I'm going to get around to mums. Our landscaping is just a horrible mess & we're just not going to have time. I guess I could always do pots....

mxq said...

claire- i forgot to mention that-

that should help explain it better. beware... my blog isn't much to look at.

Blue Ice Dave said...

Tito won't have just one offspring. I'm certain there will be quite a lively brood before the summer is over.