Yesterday, I tackled some weeding chores in the garden. My son, who shows more promise as a gardener than his sister, asked me recently which are weeds and which are plants (perhaps hoping to avoid his earlier mistake of pulling up the broccoli). My answer: anything I don't want where it is is a weed in my book. So the weeds in my garden are these: campanula (a little bit has gone a very long way), a type of geranium (happily thrives everywhere), the herbs sweet melissa (which does NOT smell sweet) and sorrel, periwinkle, heartsease, California poppy, red hot poker, and mind your own business (a small-leaved carpet-like plant that loves damp conditions, my lawn, the house, and anywhere it can sink its tiny roots into). I wonder how mind your own business gots its name because in the plant world I would say it minds everybody else's business. I also have dandelions, couch grass, toadflax, spurge, thistles, brambles, groundsel, goose grass, shepherd's purse, chickweed, buttercups, and ivy. I have just about tamed the ground elder into submission after several years of digging up and assiduously disposing of the roots. I throw nettles onto the compost bin because they supposedly help the composting process.
I have had four "gardeners" since I moved into this house nine years ago. The first, Rob, turned out to be a psychopath, but he was the best gardener. Very rough, and as I said, totally psycho, but he knew his plants. And he kept the weeds under control. The second, whose name escapes me, had graduated from horticulture college so I figured he was worth the extra money he charged. WRONG! For he did not deign to weed my borders, trim my shrubs, and mow my lawn. That he left for his hired hand, the moronic alcoholic, to do. And my bulbs and annuals were savagely dug up. The third gardener, Colin, was in the process of attending horticulture college. He was an amiable bloke just out of the army who got me into composting. But he hadn't learned how to tell a weed from a plant yet, and he ripped out some ferns I had planted. The fourth gardener was hired for the purpose of keeping the garden looking lovely while the house was on the market. Jerry, who we knew from our pub-crawling days BC, had been our gardener for a time at our last house while I was pregnant. Jerry could make the grass grow green and tall, when he showed up. Which was becoming more and more infrequent. Remember, we met him at the pub. I think that's a very big clue about Jerry. He last came in early December, promising to remove a tree limb later that week. He left his ladder and harness. The January storm destroyed the tree, but we held onto the ladder and harness. Till March, when Jerry remembered where he'd left them and called to collect them one day as I was going out with the children. He offered to take down the tree limb, but I informed him the storm had done the job for him.
In between each of these men (and not one like Mellors out of Lady Chatterley's Lover, but he was a gamekeeper anyway, wasn't he?) I have taken on the gardening chores. I have attended the odd gardening courses to try to learn a bit more. I enjoy gardening and possibly could do it full time except for the weather and my bad back. But maybe I should go to horticulture college. After all, if they could do it, why can't I? But I need to take some painkillers right now. My back and shoulders are killing me.