Friday, April 19, 2019

... And the Beat Goes On

… And the Beat Goes On
            I enjoy seeing other people's gardens, including those which are clearly better looking than mine. However, I have an emotional problem when visiting. No one has called 911 yet, while I was around, but let me explain.

            In the beginning, there was darkness upon the yards, and then God created Gardeners. Gardeners massaged the land to fit the physical and emotional needs of humans: food and beauty. And it was good. Until mono-culture factory farming displaced Gardeners who farmed the land. The factory farming put machines and caretakers in place of those who loved doing what they were doing. At least loved it more than they loved stacking boxes at Walmart, or pushing papers at an insurance company. But, I digress.

            Other Gardeners, such as myself, went to work creating an enjoyable hangout. Okay, no, I didn't go to “work” doing that, but it filled much of my after-work time. And, it was good. And satisfying. And completely engrossing.

            Landscapers were not created by God. I'll let you work out their provenance. They blithely note, “If you cut out all those hostas and ferns you could put in a great stone patio, a central fountain, several tables and a wet bar!” They take a hunk of change, drooling as they do, lay down a lot of hardscape, drop in some common plants from Home Depot along the edges, take off, and are done. Done.
            Done? Gardening is never done. It's a work in progress. Gardeners will die, or be dragged off to a nursing home, not screaming, but crying quietly. Their work will be unfinished. They will lament that great stroke of genius, planned for the next year, which will live only in their imaginations. Soon also to go. The bushes will be flattened under the rusting hulks of the new owners' old cars, the trees cut down to put up soccer fields, and a three-story house built overlooking the neighbors' bedrooms.

            What real hobby is ever “done?” Does a chess player play a fine game and then quit, having “done” chess? Does a runner run his best race and, exhausted, quit, having “done” running? Do artists and writers finish a work and say, “I've done the best that can be done. Time to watch daytime TV.” None that I've met.

            A Landscaper is “done.” A Gardener is involved in the flow of his work, stopping when it is too dark. [Note: a well known Gardener/hybridizer sets up large floodlights and keeps working, but he may be too focused on the flow. When it's dark, it's time for dinner. But I digress.]

Someone else's garden
            Oh, wait, I had started to talk about my “problem” when visiting other's gardens. The problem is  I can't stop gardening. I try to pick fallen branches and leaves off their azaleas, weed the daylilies, and clip a wayward branch off the Japanese Maple. As my right arm is reaching to right a visible wrong, my left hand grabs it and pulls it back, so it's left at my side. Reminiscent of Dr. Stangelove's wayward arm. I've seen it once or twice in my own garden, when clubs come to see the tiers of azaleas. A few visiting Gardeners start twitching. In the interests of amity, I look away, despite muttering “Get your _____ _____ hands off my plants!” It helps to remember how hard it is when the situation is reversed.

            Even in someone else's garden, work is never done. Someday, someone will call 911 to stop my frenzied work on their plants. Maybe next year.

           If I phone, will you post bail?

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