Don't you just want to kiss his fat tum?

As you may know, the house we live in now is the first house we have ever owned. That is because before this, we lived in Los Angeles, where the average price for a home is 95 billion dollars.

Because I was always a renter I never had to worry about yard work. Some landlord always had to worry about the grass and the trees and the flowers. It was kind of lovely.

But you know, I started noticing our yard was getting a little overgrown, and I thought, "Where is that negligent landlord with the gardeners?" and then I realized I was the negligent landlord. And that's when I became obsessed with the ivy.

You don't know how I wish I had before pictures of the ivy in our front yard.

Oh, yay! Guess what I found! Remember at Christmas last year, when I made the lit balls? Okay, ignore those and look at my ivy in the foreground (you can click on the photo to make it bigger).


See that–that HUMP in the foreground, there, covered in all that ding-dang ivy? What you can't see is that it extends to the front of the yard and chokes to death the two azalea bushes up there, too. The hump is not a troll or that scary thing from The Lady in the Water, it is an old stump.

So about a month ago, I was walking past that ivy to take the dog for a stroll, and I kicked that stump, and do you know it gave way? Turns out it was rotting.

That's when my obsession began.

Ever since then, I have been out there with my free time, stomping that stump, chopping at it with an ax, chipping at it with gardening tools, and when I finally got it almost gone? I started pulling out that ivy. I mean, I know ivy can be pretty, but it is just so randomly there in the front yard, looking weedy and ridiculous and like it's up to no good.

Sometimes I thought I was gonna break my teeth, I would be pulling so hard at those ivy roots and they'd come out so violently. Sometimes I'd have to get the shovel, and DIG the roots out. Oh, there is nothing quite as satisfying as hearing the crack of a root when you have gotten to the bottom of it.


Now, I understand that this looks depressing and bare, but I have since raked and today I got new azaleas and some other blooming plants, and some mulch, but really, the POINT of this photo? Is that you know what you don't see any more? You don't see any ivy! You don't see any stump! It is all gone because I removed it! With my bare hands! And several gardening tools.


I put some of these in, and if anyone knows what they are, could you tell me? Because I bought them at the farmers market and I have no idea what they are, but they are doing great and I think I'll get more.

Oh! And while I'm on the subject of gardens–and this will only amuse you if you read me when I lived in TinyTown–Marvin forwarded me an article from the TinyTown News Record Intelligencer newspaper (no, honestly. It has like 80 names and it's four pages long). My garden club got abandoned on the side of the road recently and they had to call to get someone to pick them up, and naturally it made the paper. Here is a picture of my club! Look how cute! How I miss my garden club.


At any rate, getting back to my current life, by the time I dug and mulched and planted and Miracle Grew today, it was pitch black and I can't show you how nice everything looks, but I can tell you this. Yesterday someone was driving by and he pulled up to my front yard.

"Excuse me, ma'am," he said. "I live in this neighborhood."

I was all, oh Lord. What has one of my animals done?

"I just wanted to commend you for all you've done for this yard," he continued. "I am so glad you got all that ivy out."

I could have kissed him flush on the mouth and made him a Salisbury steak. I told him how I really didn't know what I was doing and how much his compliment meant to me. We had a nice chat where he said he thought he might have met my husband but he didn't think so because the fella he met was so young, so I had to endure that humiliation, as usual, where we are George and Barbara Bush and I look 110 compared to Marvin.

Nevertheless. What I learned is, when you fix your yard, it's not just for you, it's for all the people who live around you who have to look at it.

The other lesson is, marry a man who looks hagged out.

32 thoughts on “June’s Garden

  1. Mother says:

    The garden club resembles my prayer group and look just as lovely and interesting. I think the plant is a columbine also. It’s best to always know what you have bought, preferably by its Latin name so that you will know (or can look up) whether it needs sun, shade, or a mixture. Maybe you got Grammy’s gardening gene.


  2. Oh Paula FNY, you made me giggle with your grumpy french houseplants. I have an awesome mental image of a lily with a beret and a grumpy attitude.


  3. Jan says:

    I hate to disagree with everyone (every one) but I think June’s plant is a Columbine. I need a closer picture to be sure, but the foliage and flowers look like Columbines to me. And just sayin’… I’ve been told by several people that they always call me about plants because I “can identify flowers in the pitch black, blindfolded.” Really, I’m not trying to toot my horn but I really can identify flowers and as soon as I saw them I thought “What pretty Columbines.”
    Also? I love, love, love it when I see people slow down in their cars and check out my yard or stop in front of my house to and look and point at my flowers. It makes my heart happy. One day a neighbor was walking by and I was out there doing something and she told me she loved my yard and house. Then she told me it looked like a happy place to live. That was the best compliment I have ever, ever received.
    Oh enough about me… you all talk about me… And by the by… I heart Henry.


  4. Kara says:

    Haha – Mom had someone refer to my dad as being her son – ouch! He’s even older than her!
    Great job on the yard work!!


  5. Deb in Maine says:

    We have ivy here too, only it is poison and gives you an itchy rash! Love your advice on husbands! Those gardening ladies look like fun.


  6. Tee says:

    I HATE ivy! My husband planted it in the backyard and now the yard is all ivy! That’s why I tell him he has to edge that stuff off the sidewalk, it will cover it completely if it’s not kept cut, besides ivy is an ideal place for snakes to hide. I don’t have a clue what kind of flower that might be, but I don’t think it’s a hosta. Love the photos. That little Henry is a little love bug. Cracked me up, the garden clue making the newspaper. I know you must miss those sweet darlings.
    You yard looks great. The joy of home ownership. 🙂


  7. I love your Christmas lights. How did you make them?


  8. Linda in CO says:

    I love the picture of your garden club. Do they always bring lawn chairs and big umbrellas along for all their outings? Your yard looks lovely, btw.
    And Suzanne, you did all that work on a rental house? The landlord must have LOVED you.


  9. Lynn Bryant says:

    Gardening June Gardensalad-
    Fantastic job on the front yard. It looks great, and no, it didn’t look easy either!
    Can you take a closer picture of the new plant and it’s leaves please? I think it is either Foxglove or maybe Penstemon, but I just cannot see if well enough to tell. When you go back to the market, ask the farmer you bought them from and also ask where they like to be planted. I would hate for you to lose the plant because it is in the sun and prefers the shade.
    Still, great job!


  10. Culpepper says:

    Oh I love the garden club picture. They are all so cute! Which one invited you over to her lovely house? I am guessing it is the one sitting in the chair with the blue jacket. She looks like a lovely house person. I miss your garden club too. I also miss the church, the good food they served you and the fun bulletin you had to create each week. Boy, I really remember way to much information about your past life.


  11. Jenene says:

    Your former landlords took care of the flowers too? Because here they don’t. They just mow the lawn. Every two weeks. Maybe.
    I actually don’t mind taking care of the flowers in our yard, except for the rhododendron bushes that have grown WAY too tall and I can’t trim them to save my life, and it makes me sad.


  12. susan says:

    If Henry is a boy, how come he has tiddies?


  13. Roxie's Mom says:

    I think Lorinda is right: Baby Pink (pink?! no wonder you bought it) Salvia. The leaf shape doesn’t look like penstemon. Salvias are perennials, so it should come back for you year after year. Good choice!


  14. Lorinda says:

    I’m with Paula, it’s not a hosta. Going from leaf shape and flower structure, I think it’s a salvia. If it is, hummingbirds love them.


  15. Susanne says:

    We had that exact same thing in the yard of our rental house in San Clemente. The owner didn’t want to put money into the landscaping, so we got all our kids out there over several weekends to pull the ivy, then Hubs wrapped a chain round the 4 foot diameter stump and pulled it out with his Honda Civic. That was a big attraction in the neighborhood that day, and I regret not selling tickets and popcorn. We put down sod, built a white picket fence, and planted flowers around the outside. Turned into one of the prettiest yards in the ‘hood, and we got a lot of grateful comments as well. So proud of you, June!


  16. That’s a lot of work!! Good job. Oh, that neighbor. Did he have to go and insult you after all the nice things he said?


  17. That’s a lot of work!! Good job. Oh, that neighbor. Did he have to go and insult you after all the nice things he said?


  18. That’s a lot of work!! Good job. Oh, that neighbor. Did he have to go and insult you after all the nice things he said?


  19. That plant is NOT a hosta. It looks like an annual called Angelonia but I think it is another type of perennial. I pulled and dug up ivy from my overgrown backyard for 2 years before I got it all out. WELL worth it.


  20. Paula FNY, D says:

    Despite the fact that I will soon be moving to a new place with a lot of gardening opportunities, I will NEVER garden. Or, if I have to, I will NEVER enjoy it. For that reason, I ADORE hostas. Hostae? Hosti? Is one a hostum? Whatever. Because I totally ignore the ones I have and they come back faithfully every year. They are unkillable.
    Meanwhile, I have house plants that I can’t seem to keep happy. Every time I walk in the house, they are all “J’accuse!” I either over water them or under water them or under sunshine them or over sunshine them. (They were gifts, of a sort. I know better than to buy myself a plant.)


  21. I think your plant may be a penstimmon, Junay, gardener extroidinaire.
    I married a man who is fourteen years older than I am so unless I have been out gardening in the hundred degree Memphis heat (100% humidity!) and look like who’d a thunk, strangers hardly ever confuse us for being the same age.
    That’s HARDLY EVER, just in case you missed the delicacy of my sarcasim.


  22. Erin says:

    You are amazing. What a lot of work! It really looks great.
    If I were your neighbor I’d definitely commend you, though probably in note form or just in my mind because I’d be too chicken to actually come up and speak.


  23. Karla says:

    Oh yeah, your plant might be a type of hosta.


  24. Karla says:

    Congrats on the ivy, but keep a close eye on it because it may try to come back, all you have to leave is one molecule behind. Ivy is sneaky like that. So are dandelions and pretty much every other weed I have in my yard. Let’s just say that my neighbors are not thanking me right now.


  25. Gladys says:

    My mother and I dug briars for 20 years out of her garden. One day she was digging and pulling and I was digging and pulling back to back with her. Then she gave one big tug and pulled me to the ground. I had the other feeder to the same briar.
    I’m sure your garden is lovely June Gardens.


  26. misschell says:

    i, like “cat” (above) always wanted to be a trophy wife too, so i married a man 10 1/2 years older than me (& no, i was not 8 when we married). although i’m not 5’9″ with blong hair & giant boobs i’m taking the title trophy wife as my own! Oh- my 4 yr old & i spend last summer burning & beating 2 stumps- it was the most fun we’d had in years.


  27. Roxie's Mom says:

    Two surefire ways to meet the neighbors: get a dog (check!) and start gardening (check!).
    If you have really good neighbors, you can stand around looking maladroit (it’s not hard, trust me) and let them do it for you. Sort of Tom Sawyerish. Got my fence rebuilt in less than an afternoon because men with power tools just can’t stand to see someone else have all the fun. [You might have to lock Marvin in the garage to pull this off.]


  28. Carpoolqueen says:

    When we moved in to our home, it had been abandoned for two years and completely overgrown. People would pull over every single day we were working in the yard to thank us.
    Made it worth getting chased by ground hornets that nested among the weeds.


  29. Cat says:

    I’m so ready to give up my acre yard which is on a corner so completely exposed to the neighborhood. Right now, a landlord would be nice.
    In other news, Yankee is nine months younger than me, but people usually put him about 7 years older unless he starts talking and then they bump it up another 3 years. Works for me, because I always wanted to be a trophy wife.


  30. bell says:

    At least he didn’t say he met your charming young son Marvin.


  31. Joanna says:

    OCG. Obsessive Compulsive Gardening. Everyone gets it at some point. The only way to stop it is to close the blinds, park in the garage, and look at your cell phone when you’re pulling in the driveway. That’s how I avoid it anyway.


  32. I asked a grown woman whether her mommy was home on the phone today. At least I didn’t think she was her husband’s mother!
    Nice job with that yard. Can’t hurt the fitness goals either, all that yard work!


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