Saturday, July 10, 2010

Part 1 of The Azalea Chronicles

We have an azalea plant that is trying to take over one side of our house. I wish I had a picture of how it looked, to show you that this is true, but I failed to take one earlier (and it is now too late, as you shall learn). However, here is a picture I found on Google that somewhat depicts the former state of our azalea here at the house.

That is a very pretty house, I think. And that large azalea looks much like ours did when it was in bloom this spring, including the whole covering up the windows thing, except theirs looks like it has at least been touched by pruning shears before.

In fact, all our foundational shrubs and hedges had gotten quite out of hand. They were all very large and quite intimidating to me. I'm not a gardener, though I love gardens and timidly like to wish I were one (a gardener, not a garden). The larger and shaggier our shrubs and hedges became the more I left them alone, looking the other way when I walked past, often even whistling to keep my nerve up. It became ridiculous and something had to be done. Well look here, you can see for yourself. See these beautiful young ladies, who just happen to be some of my nieces and soon-to-be-niece (I think; when are you guys ever going to set a date?) but anyway, look just past them, over their heads, and you'll see who I'm talking about.

The Towering shrubs and hedges. They're much taller than foundational shrubs and hedges ever should be.

So finally, about four days ago, I just snapped. Into action, and I said, this is it. I'm taking down those towering monstrosities and especially that insane azalea (it looked, by then, like some snaggle-toothed monster because I had sheared the section that was covering my bay window but left the other half looming and veering crazily skyward).

I had bought an electric hedge trimmer about two months ago but did not have the nerve to get it out of the box. David my husband, Protector and friend was home and with me on this project, so he did the honors, and also made a trip to Lowes for a shovel, some loppers, some potting soil and a new rake (because our plan wasn't just to destroy and remove but to beautify and add, as well).

(This is just a shot of me as I wish I looked in my garden. I've just been wanting to use this picture for something. But back to the real project.)

I did not know what I was getting into. Had I known, I would surely have hesitated; I might even have called the whole thing off. I did, in the middle of the project, make a desperate phone call to the lady at Ace Hardware who is a horticulturist and has helped me with plants before. I got her voice mail and tried to sound nonchalant, asking her "just to call me when she got a minute" and I'd like to "hire her to come by sometime and help me identify some shrubs and give me some advice on how to prune them" and stuff like that. I really wanted to scream "Come to my house right now!!! Where are you? You have about two minutes to call me back or so help me..." But I didn't. And she never did call me back, anyway.

So, you're probably ready for me to get on with some descriptions that would explain all this... melodrama, and I'm anxious to, believe me, but this post has been long enough, so I'll call it Part 1, and the next post I will call Part 2, In Which I Begin to Hack Away at the Azalea. Then you'll see more what I'm talking about (just like I did). So stay tuned.


Laurie M. said...

I almost lost two fingers of my left hand to an electric hedgetrimmer, and that was after I'd already cut two electric cords with it. If you do use it, just remember to hold the stabilizer handle with your free hand even if you feel perfectly stable wielding it one-handed. I think it's really there to keep your free hand out of the way. Also, wear gloves. They will buy you and extra split second of reaction time just in case. I still haven't got all the feeling back to the index finger of my left hand four years later.

Can't wait for part two.

Jeri Tanner said...

Thanks for the sage advice, Laurie. I've done my damage, for now, with the hedgetrimmers and probably won't use them again for a while but will take your experience to heart. It's all too easy for weird things like that to happen.