Posts tagged ‘yardwork’

Yardwork Tips

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?

July 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm 7 comments

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