Friday, 4 December 2015

The rape of the mint...

WHAT is it with men and whipper snippers and/or chainsaws??? I've been trying to think of something that women do that's sort of equivalent, but I can't - and I KNOW I'm being gendered here...but, ARGH!!!

We have two freestanding garden beds in our rented house. The first summer we were here, I got very busy with vegetables. The lettuce and herbs went well, the radishes were fabulous, the pick and come again old Italian varietal spinach was wonderful, but fruit flies decimated the tomatoes... And then Dragon Dad did his first clear up one day when he was mowing the lawns and took the whipper snipper to both beds and went down to ground level. I DID say at the time, that there had been other things in the beds that needed saving - ie, basil that was still viable, chives that were a permanent crop, Italian parsley that I'd FINALLY got well established (takes SO long), other herbs, and that old variety spinach, etc... He shrugged and said it had been messy and it was annoying him so he cleared it up.
I haven't tried to go again with vegetables - for one thing, all of this last year we've been poised for the interstate move that's been put off again and again. I did get some herbs going again in the big bed though, and we've been thoroughly enjoying the mint that took off, as well as other things. 
Today, it was lawns again, and I went outside to pick some lemon balm to try and see if a tisane with that and mint might ease the awful headache I have that's a side effect of a large drug infusion that happened on Thursday. This is what I found:
The mint, lemon balm and oregano have been annihilated. AGAIN. NOT happy. Both the mint and balm had got a bit leggy, and in need of cutting back. Cutting back. Not mown. Cutting back, fed, and watered so they could thicken up again. 
My mother was a mad gardener. I lack her dedication. But I do like to potter. And I DO love having fresh herbs available for picking - they're at their cheapest in the fruit and veg shops at present, but that's still $1.50 a bunch...which can add up when you use them as I do. There are lots of heavier jobs I can't manage easily now - damned RA. And sometimes - as in the case of my unfortunate herbs - I tend to put those jobs off, or do them in bits. Both tendencies clearly offend Dragon Dad's need to have things just so, and done in one hit!
Years ago, in one of my childhood homes, there was a huge exotic tree of some variety I can no longer remember that grew just behind the BBQ and screened the business end of the back yard from full view. My father had a chainsaw which he must have borrowed for some particular job, because I don't remember him owning one. His job finished, he was obviously having so much fun he had a go at the tree. Pruned it he did - so he said to my mother. Mum wasn't big on getting angry - she keep a lot of things down. That day though, I remember just how quiet she got - always a sign of imminent danger... The tree was a butchered, ghastly thing with great amputated thick branches sticking out all over the place. It took a very long time for it to recover and for enough growth to cover Dad's efforts. Mum never really forgave him - and the chainsaw was sent back to its owner very smartly. I don't remember ever seeing Dad prune anything ever again. 
Somehow, when we move and I get organised with herbs again wherever we're living, I'll have to manage it in such a way that prevents these over-enthusiastic efforts. Pots maybe - the various planter boxes and pots scattered around the property here never see the whipper snipper close up. So that may be the answer. What I do know is that there'll be no lemon balm tea for me - because that I can't buy in the fruit and veg shops, and it'll be a while before there's mint in any of our salads.
Who else has this issue? And can anyone tell me WHY they feel the need to be so over the top?? 


  1. I could see how you'd get carried away once started. It's the plant variety of using a sledgehammer on a wall. Feels satisfying. I think the trick is to keep him from getting started. Or involve him in the nurturing of the beds - get him invested and he won't kill it! (or so goes my theory anyway)

    1. Indeed it is - I'm planning new herb gardens once we move and I know what I have to work with - and they will be declared forbidden territory to any powered tools... Frustration reared its head again just now when I realised I'd be without mint for what's planned for dinner tonight. Perfect opening to make that point if he misses it and says something...