Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What the Well-Dressed Gardener Wears to Pull Weeds

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What the Well-Dressed Gardener Wears to Pull Weeds

Article excerpt

Ah, summer in Florida! The sun shines bright this early morning. Still dressed in my nightgown and robe, I go out to collect the morning paper while coffee brews. I wander slowly down the driveway, breathing in the scent of magnolia and jasmine, and watch a fluttering butterfly perch lightly on the salvia. As I pause to take it all in, I think about last night - an evening of ballroom dancing.

I mentally move again to rhythmic music and do a little cha-cha swirl as I stoop to pick up the paper, looking around to be sure neighbors are still behind closed doors.

I picture myself again in my black skirt, black blouse, pearl necklace, and earrings to match. I can almost feel the earrings, dangling and touching my neck ever so gently. Actually, I think I do feel those earrings. Oh, yes, they're still there, still dangling. It was a long night, and I was very tired when I went to bed.

As I bend to pick up the paper, I admire the sunshine mimosa, or sensitive plant, my newly planted ground cover. I'm not a gardener at heart, but I do like things to look neat, and the mimosa is a solid blanket of bright green with circles of pink puffs. It looks a little like an antique quilt, spread carefully over the corner of the yard.

In years past, the yard was a hodgepodge of overgrown plantings, vigorous weeds (at least they were green), and citrus planted randomly wherever they fit in. No plan; no order. Definitely not neat.

Then my son moved in for a couple years between jobs, and it was his idea to redo the yard. He researched, consulted nurseries, and finally drew up a plan that favored native Florida plants. I was the consultant to keep things orderly. Then he and a friend worked long and hard digging up the old plants and putting in the new. The yard was transformed into a woodsy Florida hideaway instead of just one more typical yard.

My son moved away. Then it was all up to me. The yard looked great, except for this one area - the one I'm sitting in right now.

I'd decided to try the mimosa ground cover and, with the help of a friend, planted it, watered it, and hovered over it. It became another child - one to be nurtured. …

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