Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Out of the Way

We all have our own ways to let others know when we need them to do something to satisfy us.

When I am wanting somebody else to do something not because they want to, but because I want them to? When I know they know this is mostly about me and not so much them, I will generally phrase it thusly: "Please clean up/move/take care of (fill in the blank) right now. It offends mine eye."

That King James Old Testament style speech is meant to send the accompanying message of "humor me - we both know I am asking you to do this for me...".

The Hub on the other hand, feels more a need to justify his request that we arrange some portion of our intersecting lives to satisfy his sense of what is salutary and right, so he will say "It is in my way".

This "in the wayness" applies to any clutter that is "not his". And honestly, clutter that "is his" is not considered clutter in his mind, so you get the drift of how the "in the way" designation is selectively applied.

And for better or worse, when things get to the point where the Hub is telling me that something or other of mine is "in his way", then I know it is time to do something about it. For him. Because I love him and he loves me and that is how it is supposed to work. We are not only about the life going on in between our own ears, sometimes we do things not for our selves, but for others.

So it was interesting to me recently the way the frozen gray and brown messiness of the tender plants here and there in our garden beds finally got to be too offensive to mine eye, so offensive they actually morphed into visually getting in my way.

I could not look out the windows without seeing flashes of morbidity everywhere I glanced. It looked to be a huge job and I typically avoid huge jobs like the plague. But enough was enough. Yesterday I took a deep breath, shrugged on a jacket and went out the door, clippers in hand.I spent 90 minutes working steadily and there is still a fair amount of work left to be done but over all, the results of much judicious pruning and removal have returned my exterior vistas to a more pleasing state. For winter.

How is your tolerance for wintry messiness? Are you lessez faire with regards to freeze nipped foliage? Are you motivated by plant health concerns or a sense of untidiness that must be addressed? I'm not looking for justification to leave the rest of the messiness outside untended to (really - I'm NOT). I am just curious as to what constitutes "the line" for you. What you can see and leave as opposed to what motivates you to get out and get it done? We're all friends here. Feel free to weigh in with your comments. I promise they won't be in the way.


  1. I LOVE this post! The comments on how you and The Hubs communicate. And the reminder that love is reason enough.

    I'm cutting lantanas and Pride of Barbados but leaving most of my winter damage standing, afraid of more freezes. I've trimmed early in prior years and can't say it caused problems but our weather has been so wild the last year that I wouldn't be surprised if we had a blizzard.

    Thank you for your comment today on my post "It Could Always Suck Worse". I was hesitant to put the post up, and appreciated reading your experience and thoughts.

  2. I agree with Kathleen's first paragraph 100 percent!

    I'm not pruning all the uglies for another month or so. For now, I focus on the veggie garden and otherwise avert mine eyes...

  3. Thank you, Kathleen. I thought your post was brave and honest and true and appreciated it a great deal.

    I have heard before that cutting back damage may leave a plant more vulnerable for the next freeze, but most of what I did was to cut things off to the ground. I'll hope you are wrong about that blizzard part. We've lived where that happens and it is bad-bad-bad.

    Especially in parts like these where folks don't know how to prepare. Or to stay the hell home! Texans are so stubborn about driving whenever and however we want. Don't know where that comes from. Just know it to be true.

  4. Oh Iris - if recent photos are any indication, I am not seeing much that needs eye averting in your realm. Thanks for dropping in as always!

  5. What gardener can look at the brown bits and the mushy bits for so long, without getting out the clippers and doing away with them. I had to get out and cut back some things but with our garden being so exposed to the worst that Austin weather has to offer I am afraid to cut back all that protective brown foliage. Anyway for now I don't have to look at it and I'm sure the birds don't mind. When we return at the end of January it will be the first thing to do; forget the washing I need to get my hands in the dirt. In the meantime I can watch others, like yourself, enjoying themselves in the garden. Happy New Year

  6. Ha! "Enjoying themselves" in the garden? Lancashire Rose, you are a sturdier gardener than I perhaps. Day before yesterday I was driven out to clear some of the worst brown away, and while I enjoyed the results perhaps, and the feeling I was at last DOING something about the offensive appearance of it all, I think "enjoying" is a tetch to the right of the mark for me.

    Oof - did that sound too contrary of me? Hope not. Thanks so much for dropping by - it is always good to hear from you!

  7. Indeed, you know it's time to do something when it is "in your way!" (Or the hub's way). I'm just now entering the "Okay, it looks icky" stage. I like to clean up some things, but others I just accept for now. Though I did just do a tour of the garden and thought, "Gosh, this place sure needs a gardener."
    Tomorrow. . .

  8. This has nothing to do with your post...other than your canna's look like mine, but I just noticed that you had Mikael's blog on your blogroll...do you bird? Have we met birding per chance? Cheryl@Consciousgardening

  9. Cheryl - Thanks for dropping in! I don't bird officially - I am strictly a "trying to pay good attention everywhere I go, including my own back yard" kind of gal. I do enjoy Mikael's blog however and he has helped me ID birds I've captured in photos now and again. I STINK at identification, be it bird or butterfly or unknown flora. I try and try and none of the helpful photos I find seem to look quite enough like whatever it is I am trying to identify.

    So nope, we haven't met that I am aware of, but I do enjoy your blog and via your blog, your gardens!

  10. My brown canna stalks are still up - guess my tolerance is pretty high, but also bet your neighbors prefer your snipping back!
    Hope some stuff makes it through the predicted cold heading our way and Happy New Year, Deb!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  11. Hullo, Annie! Happiest New Year to you and Philo as well! I'm hopeful we will get more rain to test out your new barrel soon. I'll take cold (like I have any choice) but I'll demand some wet to go with it, please. Thanks for dropping by.


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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.