The risk: to admit I’m tired of gardening. It’s like what Samuel Johnson says about the man who is tired of London, he is tired of life. For the record I’m nowhere near tired of life. (I hope, anyway. You never know, do you?) No, it’s just gardening, or the way I do it I’m tired of. At least today, working in the Richmond District, at a garden that is always one step away from getting completely out of hand or three steps beyond. As is right and just, I blame the idiot who planted all these shrubs that have gotten far too large for this small rectangle; ceanothus, variegated buckthorn, cordyline, camellia sasanquas…and these are in just one narrow bed. The rest of the garden is likewise effulgent. I perch precariously on the “NOT A STEP” step and turn the unwilling buckthorn into a dowdy column hating the shape I’m creating. And who planted this garden? Me. It’s one of life’s little garden jokes that if you get to live long enough, you see the results of the mistakes you’ve made, large and small.
I might not live much longer if I don’t get down.
You could presume that given the leafy plenitude of this garden, the young woman who lives with her husband and kids in the upstairs flat would not feel the need to add plastic foliage, and you would be wrong. In plastic buckets we have before us three artificial plants, not even exotic facsimiles but the most hackneyed, dieffenbachia, parlor palm, and philodendron, each faded to a green seen in the faces of the seasick. Here is the irony which keeps you, dear reader, from getting chlorosis: after I have snipped a million snips and am in the clean-up phase, I must comb the plastic foliage free of buckthorn clippings.
I hedge. Maybe I am a little tired of life.