Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Garden Rant

Sloth some times gets the better of me. This weekend I was envelloped by sloth and sat in front of this computer most of the day light hours. That probably contributed to my expulsion from the GardenWeb again. I did wander around the internet quite a bit during lulls in the tussle with the Deletetriss and came across a very interesting garden blog. The title alone caught my interest, Garden Rant

This blog is a joint effort of three women with strong opinions about the goings on in the world of horticulture. The day I visited the top post was on being envious of Rich People’s Gardens. I know a thing or two about rich people’s gardens and have been known to have an opinion or two or ten. I scoped out the site and liked what I saw and read and added it to my favorites for future visits.

I discovered there are a lot of gardening blogs out there this weekend. I already knew from participating in forums there a plenty of gardeners, novice and professionals who are not the least bit shy. It seems a lot of them like to write too. There is a lot of competition out there.

I like the idea of professional gardeners having a venue to rant. The rumblings in my head that kept telling me to write were in large part rants about subjects close to my profession. In certain gardening forums there was always a tension between the homeowners seeking advice and comfort and the professionals there. It was unspoken, but I think a large part of that was from the professionals venting their frustrations with their clients. It is certainly a lot easier to tell a stranger on the internet what you really think about their landscape choices than the person giving you a big chunk of money and who it is your job to please.

One of my rants did make it into the local paper as a letter to the editor several years back and the same subject has begun to rears its head again much closer to home. Two owners in the neighborhood association where I work have stopped to just give me a heads up that the board is thinking about adopting a policy limiting the noise level or decibels allowed by power gardening tools. My initial response is good luck with that.

There are about twenty different landscape services, large and small in this neighborhood and they want to take a vote and tell them all that you are making too much noise when you clean up my yard. It bothers me and you need to buy quieter tools. Good luck with that.

This last time I was told, “We did it in California in Palo Alto.” That is not an argument you want to use with a local or long time Maui resident. It don’t fly. If California is so wonderful and progressive and enlightened, why are you here? Local people cringe at the unstoppable Kalifornication of Maui.

The last thing I want to hear from someone who nearly ran me over in their fully loaded tricked out professionally cleaned giant SUV because they were in a hurry and so absorbed in their cell phone conversation that they were not paying attention to what was going on around them is that my tiny little two cycle machines are so loathsome that they should be banned. Obviously there is an ability here to tune out distractions.

It is up to me though with ear plugs in and a pulsating 67 decibel blower in hand to listen for the sound of oncoming office buildings so that I do not end up like some squashed possum on the side of the road. Encased in their highly regulated cocoons I can never be sure that I will be seen or heard until it is too late. Possum squash is a lovely dish by the way.

I am entirely too vain to consider plastic surgery and will have to move before the culture of Maui is so degraded that Plastic Californians no longer stick out like a giant rubber thumb here and the pressure is on to conform. But it may be the blowers that drive me out first.


As someone who makes a living doing landscape maintenance and regularly uses one of those horrible loud obnoxious blowers I had to comment on the recent letters regarding their use.

There is a reason that archeologists have to dig to find ancient civilizations. It is because the service people stopped cleaning up the mess and it just kept piling up. My clients all want their walkways, drives and pool decks cleaned of the Kihei dust and the tiny debris that falls from their jungle landscapes, the stuff that a rake can not pick up. I have to make a living here and that requires efficiency and lots of clients. I am not some babushka wearing peasant who can spend all day with a broom to earn a dollar for a loaf of bread.

The bulk of all that tiny dust and debris ends up in the lawns and plant beds were it is watered and captured and added to the soil. It is not just being pushed around by the blower. What would those bothered by the noise have us do? Should the gardeners hose off the decks? Should we vacuum it, just a blower in reverse and send it to the landfill to return to Kihei on the trade winds next week? Should we tell our clients their bill is going up for sweeping time or that they should just get used to the tiny debris?

Yes I know blowers are loud (what did you say?) and a quieter version will be invented right after a truly fuel efficient car is put on the market. And to make matters worse I smoke while I am using the blower. Obviously I will not be joining the flood of people moving to California to enjoy all the wonderful rules and regulations they have there.

Christopher C in Hawaii


christin m p in massachusetts said...

Our landlord is just the opposite. He's always checking eBay and Freecycle looking for more electric lawn mowers and electric leaf blowers -- as if he isn't hoarding enough of those machines already. I'd swear he's collecting them, like they're works of art or something. Each time he gets another one, he shows it off to us, smiling proudly. He's a mechanical engineer -- I guess they're into those kinds of things.

I have to admit, though, that I reap the benefits... He usually does his lawns in the morning, and those quiet machines (the electric lawn mowers are nearly silent) don't disturb my morning sleep at all -- and my hearing is very acute.

Oh yeah, one more thing... I'd get a kick out of seeing a picture of that James Dean thing -- you know, you with the cigarette hanging out of your mouth while wielding your leaf blower. Testosterone isn't all bad.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

P.S. I LOVE what I just read at Garden Rant. When I get around to making my links list, that site's definitely going to be one of them.