THERE’S A NEW TOPOGRAPHICAL FEATURE on my Springs, L.I., property that isn’t making me happy. It’s a hill made of mulch — 5 cubic yards of it. That’s a lot. It sits in my driveway, waiting to be deployed as a weed suppressor, giving off a slight barnyard scent. And the thing of it is: I didn’t even want the stuff.
In bloom this week: astilbes — a good crop, since Deer-Out
It was wood chips I asked for. I wanted a rustic look among the shrubs in front. I didn’t envision this fancy Hamptons-looking black mulch. But Dong, my garden helper, did. “Everybody want this,” he kept saying. “Better for weeds.” And so he showed up with a dump-truck full, bought just for me.
We often have communication problems. I don’t speak Dong’s language, Vietnamese, and his English is… just this side of unintelligible. We do all right face-to-face, with gestures, but static-y cell phones add to the problem. Then there’s his reluctance to admit he doesn’t understand.
Evening primroses starting up; they’ve spread since last year
I do like him, though. He’s knowledgeable about gardening, hard-working, and fairly reliable.
Seed heads of alliums, which I like almost as much as last month’s flowers
And there he was with a truckload of mulch. What was I going to do? Ask him to take it back, like an undercooked burger? I’ve never been that assertive with workmen. Men of any kind, really. Or hairdressers, of any gender. So I said, OK, go ahead, dump it <sigh>.
It took me two hours of shoveling last night to get perhaps one-fifth — no, that’s too rosy an assessment — one-eighth of the way through the pile. I’m determined that all day tomorrow will be devoted to mulch-spreading.
Foxgloves! Well, one foxglove
Oh well, not a tragedy. Other aspects of being in the country this week are making me happy, including the many more things in bloom than last year (thanks partly to Deer-Out) and a general sense that my garden is under control — as long as I don’t let down my guard.
Houseplants on holiday