Garden ‘Armageddon’ no pretty sight

Yesterday was the day. It was time for my annual summer garden renovation project. Or as the rats and spiders around my house are calling it, “Armageddon.”
By the time the sun went down, I had forcibly evicted a 12-by-12-foot, 6-inch-thick tangle of honeysuckle and all its inhabitants. It required my longest extension cord, my electric hedge trimmer, a pair of ratchet pruners and some very timely help from my son and his handy upper-body strength. He made the strategic mistake of coming home to get his swim trunks.
For an hour, I had been climbing up and down our tallest ladder, whacking away at the mass of greenery that had grown atop our deck overhang. I valiantly chopped and tugged, in hopes of getting it loose but made minimal headway. I had just resorted to the desperate tactic of wrapping myself in vines and leaping from the ladder when my child strolled in.
“Would you just help me move this ladder around?” I said plaintively from beneath a hunk of vines. This was no cover of Home & Garden operation, with some fetching female decked in capris, a spotless white shirt, brightly colored gloves, tiny pruners and a wide-brimmed sun hat.
Instead, my child beheld me covered in leaves in my pajama bottoms, a pair of old sneakers and an older T-shirt, with a shower cap and visor covering my hair and a bandana over my face. Yes, I was a sight to make a strong man scream. I did manage to keep the spiders and leaves out of my hair and mouth … mostly. Once he stopped laughing, he knew what he had to do if he ever wanted another Christmas present.
He climbed atop the patio cover, (I had 911 on the speed dial), made a few passes with the hedge-trimmer, gave a couple of strategic yanks on the mass of vines and it was free. I then made use of my ever-increasing body weight to drag the dense tangle to the ground. Ah, life’s little victories.
Gardening has always been something of an Extreme Sport for me. I haven’t the time or the patience to regularly water, prune, fertilize, feed, spray, trim or any of the other dozen things that diligent gardening requires.
In its place, I lean toward Ninja-style. Now and then, without warning, I dig out my power tools and attack. It might be a day of power potting, involving bags of soil, a host of small seedlings and a dozen terra cotta containers of one shape or another. It might be a large, shaggy bush, an area that has grown three feet beyond its natural border, or a decade worth of honeysuckle vine. It is a perfect combination of cardio workout, adrenalin rush and the deep satisfaction of checking one more item off my summer to-do list. It takes me three days to lift my arms again, but anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
I am very much hoping my husband will be so impressed that I got the whole mess down, he will be willing to cut it up, bundle it for the trash and rake the mountain of dead leaves away. If he fails to appreciate how much work I’ve saved him, I’ll be facing another afternoon of gardening as exercise.
Or maybe one of my children will stop by again for their bathing suit.


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