Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Doing the Garden, Digging The Weeds (Living With Mum 16)

So there I was, secateurs in one hand, hoe in the other, gaily skipping about dearest mothers garden. The sun was out, the air was warm if not hot, birds were making little choral contributions and, in short, all was well in the Duffy world. It is, and has been for awhile, one of those odd jobs, gardening that is, that I perform by way of earning my keep. I must admit at this point that I have about as much knowledge regarding things horticultural as I do astrophysics – in other words I know bugger all. Things grow, you water them or cut them dependant on what point of the calendar we are at or in my case when Mum tells me to.

Mum had instructed me that I should wield the hoe in a manner feudal. Thrusting and turning muddy bits of earth until it looked fresh and, well, garden like. First though, or so she said, I should set off, much like the Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by re-enacting that phrase she so memorably uttered, the Queen of Hearts that is and not ageing Mamon - “Off with their heads.” Dearest mater opined that weeds were the enemy and I must Blitz them without mercy but also the Daffs as they had past, much like me, their prime.

And so I did.

I cut, I sliced, I nimbly decapitated every foul looking weed and Daffodil looking plant I came across, manfully and without hesitation. My determination was, if not grim, stoic. I tugged up bind weed, I dug at Dandelions, I de-frocked ‘Horsehair’ (whatever that is) and removed a  lifeless looking set of rag-taggedly brownish stalks that really had no right to be rooted in soil in the first place.

Job done I settled back with a can of coke and a look of self-satisfaction on the old deuce and ace. Mum approached me not with a plate of scones covered in cream and jam but a look of matronly consternation.
“Where have my Hydrangeas gone?”
“Hy what?” I choked a reply.
“Hydrangeas. Flowers. The word is derived from the plants need to have lots of water, “said mother instructively.
“Wouldn’t that then be Hydro rather than Hydra?” I, forever the pedant, foolishly queried.
“Do not prevaricate. Where is my lovely plant?”
“In the compost,” I muttered lamely.
The look on aged relatives face was to say the least, not attractive. One might suggest it being reproachful. Mother turned from me shaking her head theatrically, patently disappointed in her only son’s performance as a horticulturist. Green as cabbage I may be but sadly not green of finger.

all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?


BlackEmpress said...

Happens... would it be consoling to use the fatalistic approach of 'everything must end' & so it did?

Russell Duffy said...

Black Empress>>>I might try that line with Mum and see what response I get.

Spectra Ghostseeker said...

I very briefly held a position assisting a landscaper (who was an asshole.) I almost dug up some peonies or such. I don't have a green thumb by any means either.

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

I not a good gardener either (just one more way I disappoint my mother.) I think weeds are pretty.

I think you should throw a handful of wild flower seeds out to the wind and let them have at it.

Shimmerrings said...

I'm going to have to read all the other of your Mum posts, I can so relate! I love flowers, mind you, and when I had a yard of my own, did enjoy planting and such... but, not hers, so much. They aren't my flowers, and I don't get to pick them out. She had me put down that stuff to keep weeds from growing, some sort of synthetic type material... and wood chips on top of all that. But, the flower planting just went on and on and on and on and on.. which wouldn't have been so bad, had there not been all those chips and that freaking weed stopper stuff. And, I might add, I'd spent half my life, or more most likely, working out of doors... and now, having grown very tired of sweaty underclothes and stinging salty drops dripping from my forehead,into my eyes, I'd much rather sit in a chair, indoors, with air blowing across my face. But with dutiful obedience, I'd set about planting her flowers (but not without first muttering, most disdainfully, "omg more flowers"). After a time, planting became an act of sheer acrobatics. I did once climb walls, but this was not the same, there were no toe or finger holds. "Where do you want me to plant it, ma? I see no place left," I'd point out. "Over there, by the monkey wart, in between the castor plant and the dinner bell (an actual dinner bell," she'd say. Omg... not there. So, I'd gather my spade, and a pair of scissors too, a tiny rake and head out to 'the spot'. Mind you, there was no walking there, I had to carefully plan each step, maneuvering carefully to avoid stepping on this one, stomping on that one. So,there'd I'd be, in 'the spot', one foot to my right, turned sideways, while the other leg was placed over the monkey wart, with foot lodged against the pole of the dinner bell, while avoiding breaking the broad leaves of her castor plant, which was directly in front of me. Twisting my torso, at a near 90 degree angle, I'd sweep away redwood chips with the palm with my left hand, donning scissors in my right, and begin cutting a hole through the no-weed stuff, ripping and tearing, and re-digging the hole, because it still wasn't big enough. Flower finally planted, wood chips re-positioned, materials gathered... and backing out carefully, only to fall backwards over the winged cement gee-gaw, and bumping my head on two of the cement elves that we'd made a family event of painting each year. Gotta love those mamas. Thanks for letting me go on and on. This is why I had to start a new blog, too much hijacking of posts on FB :-(

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog