Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Aug. 20, 2001

Nine dollars' worth of garden weeds


I usually joke about my flower garden, referring to it as the "garden of a 1,000 weeds" or the "after 5 garden." Well, last week I had proof.

We usually have a fleet of about 10 to 15 children between the ages of three and 10 at our place, playing and whatnot.

I got the brilliant idea of paying some of them a penny each weed, after I showed them what I wanted taken out.

So, three of them went to work, led by my 9-year-old daugher, Latrice, busily pulling weeds.

It gets embarrassing when kids can't count that high, although they were just old enough to know what a weed was. The cute little neighbor of ours to the north, Katelyn, a Finn girl, was counting . . . 297, 298, 299. She paused.

"Lynda, what comes after 299?" "Three hundred," I said stoically.

By the end of the day, I was out nine bucks. And there were still more weeds to pull.

In my defense, I also had them pull miniature hollyhocks - technically a flower - which are rampant self-seeders, and spread like wildfire through my garden. They overrun everything.

Thank goodness I decided against a vegetable garden this year! The problem with my hip and right leg emerged early in the spring and turned into a ruptured disc by May 25, so I didn't have a chance.

Otherwise, I'm not known for allowing common sense, or simple facts, get in the way of doing something like that, if I want to do it badly enough.

Incidentally, I am a mediocre gardener at best - not even very athletic, or gifted in that sense, but what I don't have in street smarts, I make up for in willingness and effort.

I always say that I buy expensive bulbs, and then God does the rest. I can hold the hose to water them.

I remember when I was on the phone, ordering six rose bushes at the mail-order catalog company.

The clerk assured me that these roses were very easy to grow.

I said "No, no, no. Are they idiot proof?" She paused for a moment. "Can you prune them?" she asked carefully. I pictured myself with both arms in splinters. "Yes," I said.

Plans to rip out my 'tulip tomb'

Right now, I am making plans to dig up my tulip tomb (that's what I call it).

We'll see if I can get it to fly, because I can't lift anything more than 10 pounds, and my husband hates getting looped into my projects.

In the past, I ordered 80 tulips twice from the same company and they sent me the wrong colors both times (the second shipment was free). So, there are approximately 160 tulips in this 10 square foot area, full of these bi-colored tulips that I just hate.

I remember the day I dug the hole for it, two years ago. I kept telling my neighbors I was digging to China. My neighbor across the street asked me if I as putting in a pond.

The question I ask myself: How am I going to do this without killing myself?

Actually, since I wrote that, I allowed part of the "fleet" (the boys) to dig around my tulip tomb.

They had every kind of toy backhoe, wrecker, and dump truck in my tulip tomb, even though a sand box about 30'x20' exists less than 200 feet away. They must think it's realistic, plus the fruit is sweeter when it's forbidden. Usually, I'm after them to try and stay out of it.

I didn't think they could get that deep, because when I planted them, I was going through a stage when I was mad at our squirrels for digging up my stuff. So, I buried those babies about a foot into the ground.

Those little boogers managed to dig up every single daffodil in the tulip tomb and about one third of the tulips there, without scuffing one of them. I paid them a dollar each for their trouble.

Stand on one foot and wink your left eye

Right now, I'm going through physical therapy. I had no idea there were so many muscles that I wasn't using. Well, sort of.

I have to laugh at all the different exercises there are, and I say that physical therapy is when you stand on one foot and wink your left eye to work the 'phipendorfer' muscle.

One exercise requires me to lay on the floor with all of my limbs suspended about six inches, counting to 10, with hands flat on the floor.

The one I hate the most is the simplest one, of course. It requires me to push the wall, with one knee bent. I can't seem to align myself properly and the therapist has to re-position me several times to get me lined up.

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