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Aug. 5th, 2006 @ 06:20 pm Today I won an argument with a tree
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I set out this morning to beat back the jungle that had once been my garden. July's constant torrential downpours were clearly better appreciated by the 1 or 2 (million) weeds in my garden than my so-called hardy perennials. After several hours of hacking and slashing, grunting, tugging and occasionally throwing dirt into my own eye, I had a pile of weeds as tall as me. After a bit more clearing I came to 'the tree'. I decided once and for all I had to stand my ground, to put my foot down if you will. No tree should get the better of me, especially not one that speaks to me with such a condescending tone. You see, I fell in love with the tree the spring after we moved in. He's a badly placed flowering almond which I did not recognize until one day I peeked out my backdoor to the mud field called my side lot, and there he stood in full flowering glory. How could I not be captivated? His beauty is short-lived, but like the magnolia, it arrives early and is a welcome sight after a dreary winter.

The trouble started three years into our relationship. It was a late spring day, his flowering had passed and I was out pruning him, making him into his lovely treeness, when 'ffffttt' he dropped one half of his trunk, turned to me and said, 'Madame, if you do not mind, I h'am a shrub not a tree. Learn how to garden before you bring your blunt shears near me again.' (Imagine my shock at learning I had a french flowering almond!) Trying to bridge a cultural divide, I responded, 'Non, non monsieur, vous etes un arbre!' ('no Sir, you are a tree!')
He sneered, 'Your h'accent is terrible, speak h'english', in a tone normally heard from French waiters. But before I could contemplate the karmic cycle, I finished up the pruning and headed inside to Google.

The following year, determined to prove he was a shrub, he sprouted new shoots from his base. My Google search had been unsatisfactory, some say tomato...I mean shrub, and some say tree. So I decided to let him try on his inner shrub. He grew wildly as a shrub for several years. He reveled in his shrubbiness, encroaching on our path, blocking out light to other plants, and in one particularly nasty drunken brawl, nearly strangling his girlfriend, Lilac.

This year, however it became clear the years of partying it up as a shrub had caught up with him. His spring flowers were mangy, his leaves dull and many of his branches were bare. He was rapidly becoming the Pete Doherty of my garden. The peonies for one, would have nothing to do with him, and Lilac had started seeing the Burning Bush, Matthew a few years back.

I equipped myself with the appropriate tools for the intervention. As luck would have it, the weeds provided enough of a blind for me to take him by surprise. He had no chance to prepare, and humming la Marseillaise I was able to get to work immediately. 'You sir, are clearly not fit to be a shrub, you need to grow up and realize you are a tree.' Snap! Off go the sickliest of the shoots.

'Madame, you are right, I am a tree, please 'elp me back to my treeish glory!', he pleaded. I took aim at the next shoot, glad that he was finally coming to his senses. Not one to totally concede, he cried, 'sacre bleu woman, can you not learn to sharpen those shears?' Realizing that I had to put an end to the attitude once and for all, I pulled out my secret weapon, the chainsaw. Leaning in to him, I quietly explained that I had a sharp chain on it, and would be more than willing to use it if he preferred. 'Non, non, zat is fine. I sink you would prefer me to be leaning back, fur-zer away from ze path, non?', was his oh, so cooperative reply.

An hour or so of heavy pruning later, I believe he has finally learned his lesson, and we are now both anxiously awaiting a spectacular show from him next spring.
Who does she think she is?
treehug
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From:vanillabeani
Date:August 6th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
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i love your entry...hilarious. it beats my straight forward account of gardening in my own yard...

i suppose i should go out and do some late season weeding, but the heat is just more than i care to handle.
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From:neeroc
Date:August 7th, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)
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Heh - thanks. Heat may have played a part in this entry too...*g*
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From:running5k2day
Date:August 6th, 2006 04:39 am (UTC)
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This has got to be one of the best tree stories ever! I love it~It's great. You made it so interesting and really brought out the character of that tree. My plants and trees never talk to me...maybe it's too much for them under this brutal Florida sun. Oh well, can't wait to hear about another one of your garden characters.
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From:neeroc
Date:August 7th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
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Heh, thanks. I'm glad I finally managed to get him to be reasonable.
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From:bad_soup_day
Date:August 6th, 2006 11:59 am (UTC)
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What an awesome comparison to Doherty.

This is better than anything I read in the Sunday Papers.

Thanks for it!
RM
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From:neeroc
Date:August 7th, 2006 02:22 am (UTC)
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Thank you! Hope you had a good one.
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From:piknik
Date:August 6th, 2006 12:49 pm (UTC)
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holy merde, batwoman!! good show!!

he'll thank you for years to come!!
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From:neeroc
Date:August 7th, 2006 02:22 am (UTC)
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He'd better!
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From:islandgirlsj
Date:August 6th, 2006 02:13 pm (UTC)
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I just have to say, this was one of the most entertaining cute stories I have read in OH SO LONG. Loved your tale, and I'm so glad that you have tammed the wild tree. :)
Thank you for the smile this morning. :)
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From:neeroc
Date:August 7th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
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Hubby wondered why I was giggling like a manic while doing the yard work. glad I could provide a smile.
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From:moo
Date:August 6th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
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...the Pete Doherty of my garden.

Awesome. :-)
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From:neeroc
Date:August 7th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
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We'll see how long it is before he tries to steal my car.
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From:moo
Date:August 25th, 2006 10:08 am (UTC)
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Just be careful he doesn't get you hooked on coke, too.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 9th, 2006 12:23 pm (UTC)
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Actually kinda makes we want to go garden...

Seems like you have way too much time on your hands... I think you should come visit me! :D

Boo
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From:neeroc
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)
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Heh, funny Boo, really funny *g* I can't believe how much of the summer has gone by, and I haven't been able to enjoy any of it.
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