Monday, September 21, 2009

I fought the lemon tree and the lemon tree won

In the past I've written about my craptastic gardeners. A typical mow-and-blow company, once in a while they'll get bored and try to pretend they know something about plants. Their biggest thing is taking a hedge trimmer to something that isn't a hedge. They've frequently mutilated my jasmine, which is almost a hedge but needs to be cut by hand because of the way it loops back on itself (and the way the leaves will die if there's any damage). The gardeners have also butchered my lemon tree, despite my telling them over and over to leave it alone.

For some reason they seem to think a nice, tight, round shape is suitable for a tree. Nuh uh. It's a tree dammit! A fruit tree! Where you have to be able to pick the fruit, let alone have sun and air for the fruit to grow. I've been busy enough this summer that I've rarely even looked at my garden, let alone done anything. I saw several weeks ago that they had attacked my tree but I didn't have time to do anything. Once again, insomnia to the rescue. I was awake early Sunday morning and decided to go spend some time in my garden before it got hot.

I wore long pants but it was already too warm for long sleeves. I wore gloves, but the thorns on the tree are long enough, sharp enough and strong enough that I think I'd need steel gloves for them to do any good. My arms look like I was attacked by a pack of feral cats. I had to reach into the interior of the tree to remove the last of the previous season's fruit (yuck - big and squishy and purple-ish green and moldy and diseased). Way into the interior, because otherwise the fruit had already been picked. Ouch. I had to reach into the middle to cut back the suckers, so overgrown that they were almost branches. Owie. I had to cut away some dead wood, and it needed to be cut back right to the main trunk. Youch. By the time I had the tree looking again like a tree (instead of some ornamental ball) I had blood literally dripping down my arms. Oooh.

Then, just to make sure I was grimy enough, I cut back a lot of the jasmine. Jasmine "bleeds" this sticky, milky fluid. I ensured that I'd have to scrub those new scratches just to get the gooey stuff removed. I wasn't able to finish everything since my garbage can was full, but my yard looks vastly improved. I'll still need to cut more and hopefully the gardeners will stay away from my plants.

You might be wondering why I don't fire the bums. This is the 3rd gardening company I've had since I decided that I didn't want to cut my lawn myself, about 9 years (oddly enough just about the same time I started running marathons; go figure). The last company was good, but the owners retired and sold the business to their workers. I've called around, tried to find another company that won't charge an arm and a leg but still understands plants, but apparently there is no such thing. I'll probably start looking again when (if) my life quiets down, but for now I'll just keep gritting my teeth, ripping up my arms, and hoping for the best.

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