Finally, I’ve discovered the secret to keeping my wife from meddling in the garden. Most recently she hasn’t been much of a problem, but when she has a bit of time on her hands, there’s trouble.
I made a bit of a stink several years ago when she purchased overpriced, undersized pruners, but there are times when she can put them to good use. The low growing bamboo along the front walk requires regular taming to keep it in bounds, and I admit that the ivy along the path to the back deck looks best when it’s neatly shorn. I’m not good at keeping up with such things, so my wife and her pruners and I are not at complete odds.
But, if it were possible in this life to have your way without argument, I would ask that my wife leave the rest of the garden to me. Too many nandina branches have been chopped, too many magnificent hosta leaves cut out for the simple offense of daring to lean over one of the garden’s paths a bit. And this is where my new found revelation comes in.
A few days ago my wife was prowling about during the day while I was working. She’s off for the summer, though taking online classes that keep her busy. I think she takes more breaks than she admits to, and on this one I suspect she was looking for trouble with pruners in hand. She stopped by to sit for a moment on the granite bench by the oldest of the garden’s ponds. The bench is overhung by a large variegated Chinese dogwood and a Japanese stewartia that until recently was quite small, but has grown to be quite a nice tree.
The branches overhang the bench so there is adequate headroom, but if you were to suddenly look up and a black snake happened to be climbing through the tree it could be nearly looking you in the eye. Which is exactly what happened, and now the seed has been planted to be worried that a snake is lurking behind every leaf, climbing through every branch. I encouraged the lurking part, since in cultivating the proper amount of concern it’s important to believe that the snake is out to get you.
While I was traveling last week my wife happened upon two other snakes in different parts of the garden, so now there is a likelihood that one is around every corner, beneath every leaf. And so, for the near future my wife will hesitate before reaching for her pruners, and perhaps a few nandina branches will be saved.
In fact, I’ve not made too much of it, but through the years I often run into snakes in the garden. Usually, these are small garter snakes, but there have been plenty of larger black snakes. There are copperheads in the neighborhood, though if I’ve run into one it scurried away before I could identify it. I’m not looking to get too close to any kind of snake, but they appear to be more afraid of me than I am of them, so I don’t mind them roaming about as long as they don’t cause too much trouble. It’s never been my intention to scare my wife or anyone away from strolling through the garden, but this snake in the stewartia might just be the thing to save me considerable aggravation.