The Mad Gardener
by Mistress Rose
My husband thinks I am insane and I can’t say as I blame him. This morning I was wandering amongst the pumpkins and discovered – Horrors! Squash bugs! Lots of them.
Of course you never have ONE squash bug, they always appear in a crowd. Half of them are climbing on the backs of the other half making MORE squash bugs. I’d guess they’re the horniest critters in the insect world. Even their young are called nymphs!
Of course, since they live in a constant state of post-coital euphoria, they don’t move very fast, so you can just catch them by hand and dump them in a bucket of soapy water (Here, you oversexed cucurbit monster – take a cold bath!) But when it is already hot outside that’s a lot of extra work.
My methods are a lot quicker. I duck inside, grab a 100 foot extension cord and a shopvac. I flip the switch and WHOOSH, bugs gone. Of course I do careful surgery on egg laden leaves in the process.
My favorite piece of garden equipment is a chipper/shredder. When I am angry, upset, or just frustrated my therapy involves ripping weeds out of the ground or trimming bushes and branches. Then the chipper is rolled out and I visualize whatever the heck is bothering me as I thrust the mounds of innocent vegetation into the hopper. The angry roar of the motor and whirling blades compliments my emotional turmoil and the tiny fragments of torn organic matter spewing from the side release my angst.
In the fall I hook up my small utility trailer to my Suburu. Stealthily I cruise the quiet streets of middle class suburbia until – There! I see at least 8 bags of what appears to be leaves set on the sidewalk waiting for Tuesday’s trash pickup. I pull up to the curb and do a perfunctory walk up to the front door. I do ring the bell and ask permission to take the bags, but if no one is home… well, heck nobody sets trash bags on the street unless they want to get rid of them…right?
Eight bags here, 12 bags there…by the time I am done the little trailer is crammed five feet high with leaves and I am on my way home to my chipper and my compost heap. I am the Queen of leaf thiefs and as added value I stop off at one, or two, or maybe all the Starbucks in the northeast quadrant of town and snarf all the little silver bags full of used coffee grounds left out for area gardeners.
I spend hours watering with a hose in my hand rather than hooking up a sprinkler just so I can walk through the garden and listen to the plants sigh with pleasure as the droplets caress their leaves. There is a wonderfully pungent almost burnt aroma unique to dry hot soil that is released by the touch of water. Recently I discovered that smell has a name…petrichor.
At the end of a good gardening day my hands are dirty, my nails are broken and I am completely relaxed and content with the world. Insane is good.