They all tell me the same story, “Mrs. Lawlis was always workin’ in her yard now!” I hear it from the ninety year old neighbors that surround me, I hear it from strangers that peddle up on a bike, I hear it from the grocer. “She kept that yard in pristine condition you know?” I hate hearing it. I’m beginning to hate strangers. I hate my grocer.
Mrs. Lawlis was the former owner of my estate and in particular she was the former horticulturalist who singlehandedly cultivated the botanical wonderland that comprises my ‘grounds’. I’m beginning to hate her too. Lest you think that I have been lax in my landscaping duty let me reassure that is not the case. The yard is gorgeous. It’s just that...well I’m not her. “She was always outside till midnight skewering magnolia leaves with this stick thing that had a pick on the end of it...” Enough!
Yes, yes, yes, I am grateful to the old gal for leaving me such a grand legacy to work with BUT (and that’s an awfully big BUT) I’ve been in a constant state of conservancy where my lawn is concerned. It all started with hurricane Ivan, that bastard dumped enormous amounts of salt onto the Bermuda grass, he effectively killed the lawn. Katrina did her fair share of killing the following year plus the dozen or so tropical storms full of salt.
I affectionately refer to my homestead as Grey Gardens. The place was in dire shape when I purchased it but the garden...now the garden was the prize and six months after signing on the dotted line and Mrs. Lawlis was carted off to the Old Lady Home, we had hurricane Ivan. So I invariably receive the gasps that really when translated mean, “What the Hell happened here Edith Bouvier Beale?”
This Spring has been spectacular and the first year that has seen the fruits of my labor...literally. Everything is peeking out to see if it is safe to return. Easter lilies, Day lilies, Gloriosa Lilies, just all sorts of lilies really. The pecan trees have finally leafed out, “They’re always the last to do so, you know?” The huge scuppernong muscadine vineyard is going for the gold this year. I like to hang in the hammock underneath the vineyard on hot days and let the misting sprays work their magic, it’s like a cheap spa.
Oh and incidentally and totally unrelated but, Is there anyone left alive that was born in the 1800’s? In another year or so there won’t be and most of my wonderful old neighbors will be gone also. That should cut down on the helpful comments about my lawn and gardens.