Yardwork Tips

July 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm 7 comments

When you buy a house, you become more than just a homeowner. You become, like it or not, in one way or another, painter, inspector, handyman, window washer, plumber, security guard, and groundskeeper.

I have been the groundskeeper at my little house for nearly 13 years. And, as I gaze out on the freshly mown lawn and the flower beds that line my driveway this summer, I thought it worth sharing a few tips hard won over the years.

  • If you have a really steep hill, you can use an S-hook to attach a bull rope to raise and lower the mower (until the S-hook slips and the mower rolls away).
  • If you have a really steep hill, you can go out and buy an easier to handle electric mower and cut sideways while rope-wrangling the cord.
  • If you have a really steep hill, you can hire someone to cut your grass.
  • Small pine trees that are dying when you move in can be revived with some careful attention and regular applications of Miracid. It really works and will greatly increase the challenge in about 13 years when you decide to cut down those big ugly pine trees.
  • Beware flowering plants at hardware stores. They often come with a lot of weeds and may not be that hardy. Find a small, local nursery with a kind and friendly owner who knows her stuff. Better plants and a more enjoyable shopping experience.
  • Many people get confused about this next one. The difference between perennial and annual is that all of the plants in a flat of annuals will last about one season. And perennials is spelled differently.
  • Deer eat the flowers off of tulips. Additionally, deer are careful planners who will travel miles, often by bus or rail, to arrive in your neighborhood on the same day your tulips bloom.
  • Miracle Gro really does work. Don’t believe me? Come sit in the shade of my dandelion trees.
  • Get a decent set of gardening tools. Cheap ones bend or break. Good ones will last a long time.
  • If you purchase 20 or 40 tulip bulbs, they grow better if you plant in the spring or fall—instead of leaving them in a bag in the garage until they rot. (But at least the deer don’t get them.)
  • A beautiful garden and a beautiful manicure are mutually exclusive.
  • There is one flowering plant that grows well at my house. Sweet peas. Sound delightful. Grow little pinkish whitish flowers on delicate tendrils . . . tendrils which grow as if in a time-lapse video and choke out every other living thing in a 2-mile radius.
  • Each spring, set aside $100-200 for your garden. After the last frost, put that money in a shredder and spread it evenly among the bare, dead, brown plant beds.

When I was first house shopping, I thought about purchasing a row house in an area of town where property was cheap. (It has since become popular and kind of expensive.) I decided not to move to that area because . . . I wanted a yard.

Yeah, that’s funny.

If I had all of the money in the bank that I’ve spent on the dang yard over the years, I wouldn’t have to wait to renovate the basement. And I’d probably have enough left to get a stove with four working burners and an oven temperature control gauge that matches the oven temperature.

I have abdicated grass cutting. Part of a hedge is currently being held up by a bungee cord. The flowers are sparse this year. I do not have whatever talent or magic my grandmother had. And, there is certainly irony in me using these green-thumbless hands to type under the heading of Life Preservers.

But. Still. It is a good thing, to dig in the dirt.

What’s growing in your yard?

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary, Life Preservers. Tags: , , , .

Lawnchair! Famous Last Words

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Coolio  |  July 8, 2010 at 2:40 am

    After about 10 yrs in my house I have decided to stop competing with the neighbors. At first, weedkiller and fertilizer on the lawn which doubled my grass cutting time. Worth it? Nope…………
    I used to plant the flowers and found that it was cheaper to go and buy deer food since thats all they were good for at the time.

    I realized that properly placed tall grasses look very nice in a yard. Each year I split them and they seem to be working out great.

    Try this website:


  • 2. Coolio  |  July 8, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Sorry, I listed the wrong website:
    Here is the correct one



  • 3. Yardwork Tips « Life Preservers | Tulips Flowers  |  July 8, 2010 at 4:07 am

    […] marketing Go here to see the original: Yardwork Tips « Life Preservers […]


  • 4. chris h.  |  July 8, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Hilarious — I laughed out loud at “Many people get confused about this next one. The difference between perennial and annual is that all of the plants in a flat of annuals will last about one season. And perennials is spelled differently.”

    Just replaced two “bargain” $2.00 perennials planted 6 weeks ago and dead about a month now with two “bigger bargain” $0.99 perennials in the same spot. Yes, I am a plant addict, and cheap perennials are my crack. (Who else plants perennials after July 4th in 90+ heat?) Also have done the “electric mower on steep hill” routine (only running over the cord once in the 4 years I lived there). Oh, and for sure forget the tulips and go with daffodils — the deer might not eat them!


  • 5. ruth  |  July 11, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I read this after finding my own gardening notebook –yes, I’m a nerd and keep notes — most of the time (and the plastic tags that come with the plants)–I try to learn from my mistakes!

    Now, the notebook was last updated in 2005–so much for it really helping me….and that I found it abandoned on a cook book shelf–not the first place I looked for, let me tell you! But I did get a little nostalgic for those first couple of years in the house when the work was fun and not so much a chore…..


  • 6. Meg A  |  August 3, 2010 at 10:00 am

    My sister has a house in Texas that she was renting due to not being able to sell it. Recently she discovered the tenants (a Dr. and his family) were growing cantaloupe in the front yard. I saw pictures and it was absurd. They hid them between shrubs and the front brick of the house. Very odd.


  • 7. Kathi  |  September 11, 2010 at 11:27 am

    laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes, great post:)



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