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Natural doesn’t mean waist high

In the Spring of my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I sold flowers at an Amish market in New Jersey. Had nothing to do with the Amish market itself, that’s just where I was stationed by the teacher who made ends meet by shipping flowers to New Jersey from South America and paying teenagers minimum wage to stand in front of stores pushing the flowers and plants. I enjoyed it because the flowers came wrapped in newspapers printed in Spanish so I’d practice my Spanish by reading the comics and news. I felt I was pretty knowledgeable about plants at the time. This proved to be wrong when I became a homeowner.

I bought my house in the Fall of 1997. The previous owner kept the yard immaculate. With each season surprises of color and fragrances would pop from the ground and vines on the trees. But I was running a business…rather my business was running me. And in an effort to keep the business alive, I neglected everything. By the time, the business died, so had the yard and its landscaping. Nature reclaimed it. Wild honeysuckle and privet sprung up everywhere and grew 8 feet or higher with thick, viney trunks. I had lots of animals. Birds. Raccoon. Possum. Snakes. Chipmunks. Hawks. And so much more. Keeping part of the yard "wild" for habitat was an attractive proposition. But wild does not mean unkempt and, unfortunately, that’s exactly what became of my yard.

In any other neighborhood, inspectors would have been called upon me for codes violations. Neighborhood associations would have fined me. Neighbors would have posted nasty notes on my door. Mine were forgiving to an extreme and I was a lousy neighbor.

This week Cathy had enough and demanded I pay someone to knock down our waist high weeds. Every lawn mower I bring on the property dies so doing it myself was not an option. I called a friend with a landscaping business. He must have worked his tail off! The yard looks better than it has since 1997! I feel I can use the yard, something I haven’t experienced in a decade. I am flabbergasted! My wife is thrilled! And my neighbors are ecstatic!

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