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Failing to Get There, Again

I had a rant about Asiatic Bittersweet (aka Python Vine) ready to post and will post it closer to fall, but hours before my first of the month deadline another important topic won favor because I thought it timelier. The replacement topic involves self-reflection, design, techniques employed and objective assessment. It is an issue that becomes more obvious about this calendar date every year--namely the section(s) of our property that always seem to fail to get adequately weeded and manicured. So why more obvious now? ANSWER: The pace of things speeds up as true summer approaches--everything from the growth of the grass to the stature, number and type of weeds, thus it starts to become overwhelming. This despite the longer daylight.

The most obvious WHY (FAILING TO GET THERE, AGAIN) is too much property, but the problem can occur even on small parcels. I noted in my Rantings book that the most area one person can expect to intensely manage is two acres, and that presumes the person is a hardcore gardener willing to spend at least 25-30 hours each week attending to the various needs. This also presumes that one is not wanting or able to employ gardening help--both expensive and often difficult to obtain. Making the issue more challenging is exactly what we expect the outcome (the garden) to look like, the plants we choose (both those we import and those that appear naturally and that we allow to stay) as well as the type of design and the realization that most tasks have to be done repeatedly--Sisyphean. And clearly some types of gardening are more labor intensive per unit area than others (e.g., vegetable gardens, cut flower beds, fruit trees & shrubs, roses, etc.). Avoiding or limiting these can make the prospect of getting caught up more reasonable. Other reasons some areas always seem to get ignored or put off until last (i.e., shortchanged) are location, the type of management required (both tedium and difficulty), and straight out habit. We all develop routines and for some of us the routine does not deviate--predetermining the likely shortcoming. New endeavors and the inevitable unforeseen matters also seem to enhance the prospect off failure. As I commented in my book and keep reminding myself, "It is usually best to take better care of what one already has rather than getting something else" which includes new projects. Moreover, the tasks do not get any easier as we age, but I refuse to let that derail my gardening passion. What I have finally realized is that I need to consider the work a balancing act, an editing dance rather than annihilating warfare (Mother Nature is relentless and can wear one down), and that I need to reassess what I consider acceptable manicure. Not every area can or should receive the same degree of preening. That or reduce the total area one is attempting to manipulate (i.e., to give up). I am reminded of Don Quixote's powerful response in Man of La Mancha when queried about his quest. "To dream the impossible dream, To fight the unbeatable foe, ...'" Like the ingenious knight, I will continue my quest. Many would ask why? My answer would be "because it is who I am, what I must do, what I want to do." Besides, the tasks are as meaningful as any that others occupy themselves with, and the quest builds character.

FYI: I try to get my three-acre property ready for visitation by early June and mid-September each year whether or not a visit actually occurs. These tentative dates give me incentive and a goal. However, there is always a post "it's ready" lethargy which leaves me once again trying to play catchup.

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