Blunders

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could, some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely.”                         Ralph Waldo Emerson

That quote, scribbled in pencil on a scrap of paper, sits on the windowsill of my room, I see it when I shut the shades at night. Usually I pay attention to the end – it’s a variation on “things will be better in the morning” – but the blunder-forgiveness part also comforts. Like life, gardening can sometimes be full of blunders; forgiveness is always a good idea.

We inherited more lawn than I would have chosen – but lawn speaks to some people, maybe all people in a harkening-back-to-the-savannah voice. Lawns please kids and dogs – and brides and grooms. And nothing is sweeter, if you have the right spot, than a small, highly manicured square for clustering chairs for summer sitting – a space where bellis stays and dandelions go – a flowery mead.

Over our time here we’ve tried all sorts of ways to be with our grass (except lawn care involving chemicals). At first, being new to a sizeable lawn, we had it religiously, frequently, routinely mowed. Then, during the summer of construction, the lawn became an overgrown field needing a hay mower to reclaim.

Now we’ve settled into a manageable arrangement: a wonderful guy with an energy-efficient mower cuts the grass minimally, and through that longish grass, the good natured-husband mows paths with a push mower along desire-lines (to the bluff and the birdbaths). That combination mostly allows the greensward to stay green and weed-seed-free through spring growing. The lawn’s length makes it more hospitable to small and often unseen co-inhabitors here. I’m glad when the lawn goes quietly summer dormant.

My garden beds have a motley selection of edgings – old fence posts, broken concrete, boulders, a wattle fence – attempts to “contain the abundance.” It’s all a little shaggy, but defined. Helping to define is a small battery-fed weed whacker so underpowered our younger son, who lives on a manicured lot in Los Angeles, thinks it’s laughable. The British call weed whackers “strimmers” – a good name for this tool.

The strimmer helps with edges, makes more orderly the beginnings of paths and around beds and fencepost, but I am clumsy. Out by the bench, when attempting to give it the appearance of kempt – a green frame – I beheaded three budded daffodils by getting too close.

Graciously – in the same way gardens often forgive our mistakes – the daffodils opened in water the next morning and blossomed, blossomed well and serenely.

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