Seeking apt gardening metaphors

War is the first thing that comes to mind. All you pacifists who head out there with your floppy hats, flowered gloves and Martha Stewart attitude to greet the garden like a pal with whom you’ll create a thing of beauty – can piss off.

That zen feeling of calm and oneness with nature that comes from tenderly weeding and pruning, has yet to overcome me. And it’s not like I haven’t given it the old college try for decades. (Let us remember however, I’m the girl who can’t meditate). I have only a sprig of envy of those who revel in the back-breaking task of horticultural beautification. Wouldn’t it be nice? Not really. What would be nice is a hired gardener and me with my book on the porch.

Don’t get me wrong – I love flowers and trimmed variegated shrubbery. I have had many moments glorying at the sight of my poppies - the most beaitiful to grace the earth – some intense peach colour I’ve never seen anywhere else. And I smile when people comment, as they so often do, and take silent credit for something I have absolutely nothing to do with.

Mostly my garden is the enemy. I arrive armed with dated weaponry and stand hands on hips to survey the battlefield. Alright you mother fuckers prepare to die. I can feel them all cowering- as they should. (If they had a vote – they wouldn’t pick me.) And then I go at it with the frenetic, uncharted zeal of a medieval warrior in a scene from Braveheart -  hacking my way with no strategy. If I was in the military, I’d be a foot soldier, never a general. But sadly, here in my garden, I’m in command.

Define weed is a good starting place. As my friend Robert said to me years ago, the plant/weed thing is a bit of a false distinction. And wasn’t there just a study about the link between dandelions and cures for cancer? So I go with “ugly” (a matter of opinion) and shallow roots, to guide my way.

“No. Stop,” the plant with the little white blossom screams at me. “I’m a flower, really.”

“You’re a faker,” I reply, feeling guilty as I rip it, and its whole family, out.

The second metaphor that comes to mind is the high school house party where way too may uninvited kids show up and it’s really hard to get rid of them and they’re all drinking and smashing beer bottles, and wrapping drunken arms around the kids who were invited that look distressed and sheepish but won’t kick them out. So I’m the parent who just arrived home. I have the job of queen asshole in the garden.

Who invited the mint?

I love mint, but every time it comes, it takes over. It’s a bad influence.

The rose bush was invited but is like the kid of an old friend you can’t say no to, who went through puberty and grew two feet and has thorny stubble, and keeps scratching my arms when I walk by. And really, for the number of roses it produces…

And the icing on the cake is the brown paper gardening bag that split open when I forced the last batch of today’s casualties in. It’s paper, I know. Who makes body bags out of paper?

I’ve retreated. I’m back inside documenting my misadventures. I just took a couple of Robaxacet. The garden looks defeated, but in the end it will win. It always does.

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