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Another View: Stealth gardening

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Poppies are popping, crocuses are croaking and daffodils are going daffy. Spring has sprung and with it, an old man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of another long season of neverending garden work. It’s a jungle out there. A well-manicured jungle, but a jungle nonetheless.

In a neighborhood of fanatic gardeners, the competition is tough. The neighbor to the south is a certified Bonsai Master. He gives lessons on how to stunt the growth of trees, for goodness’ sake. Not by choice, I, too, am an expert in stunted plants. The neighbor up the hill has a degree in botany and produces enough fruit and vegetables to feed an army. He’s so agriculturally talented that last summer, just spitting watermelon seeds off his deck caused a new watermelon patch to grow where common sense and zero irrigation would predict that nothing would. The three neighbors across the street each have boutique vineyards on their piece of the good Earth. They go so far as to use a scientific Brix measurement device to measure the specific gravity of their grape juice. This determines the sugar content of their grapes so that they can be plucked at the peak of perfection. My agricultural efforts don’t stand a chance.

They’re all nice people, but I detect a note of condescension when they come over to chat while I’m out slaving over my second-class yard. There are times when good people give good advice and a contrary nature dictates doing your own thing. The other day was one of those times. One of the wine masters swaggered over and in a neighborly way suggested that perhaps spreading fertilizer by hand would lead to uneven distribution. He recommended using a fertilizer spreader. I mumbled something positive, but in reality, I don’t need no stinkin’ spreader. However, to continue to fling fertilizer by hand, despite his good advice, would unnecessarily insult a friendly neighbor.

There was only one thing to do; stealth gardening. On moonless nights, you will find me creeping around the yard with night-vision goggles and a fertilizer bag. It’s cooler and less stressful. Maybe it’s time to hire a professional gardening crew.