Around this time of year I like to consider myself an expert gardener. With whatever know-how I have gleaned from YouTube that morning, I stride into the wilderness of my backyard, and start killing things with dangerous chemicals and gardening implements I’m too stupid to use safely.
The grass is looking particularly haggard this year. Winter months of harsh weather has taken its toll, and my once green and pleasant land now resembles my Father’s head – bald, lumpy and would benefit from some decent drainage.
In all honesty, my fireworks display from last November didn’t help much either – with more than a few bare patches remaining from the ignition sequence of a dozen rockets I launched at the neighbours.
That, coupled with a clowder of stray cats that take turns to shit all over my lawn, has led me to get my house in order, and return my garden to the suburban oasis I think it is (so my son can enjoy destroying it over the summer months).
One of the YouTube videos suggested I rake the thatch out of the grass and aerate the soil with a fork. It looked quite straightforward… almost easy… the kind of thing you can get done in a spare hour.
It turns out YouTube is full of shit and lies to people.
Honestly, the raking alone ensured each disc in my spine felt like a poorly placed Jenga brick! I hobbled back into the house, looking like I had messed my favourite gardening pants. Simply untying my shoelaces felt like a torture process lovingly employed by the CIA on people who look a bit terroristy and foreign!
I admit it. I’m not built for such manual labour, and have in fact been known to break into a muck sweat just by standing still. So the sight of my pathetic form attempting to be horticultural can only result in a trip to the chemist for a vat of Deep Heat, and enough Ibuprofen to stop a team of wildebeest in its tracks.
Anyway, after a week of convalescence and the third season of House of Cards taken from my sickbed, I felt strong enough to do a little more groundwork.
Not one of my best ideas.
If the raking sent my body into shock for a week, the forking of the ground (every 6-8 inches to ensure any winter compaction is alleviated), was enough to have me reconsider the benefits of pouring concrete over the entire sodding area and painting it green!
Oh, and that’s just the first stage. Once I’ve watched the entire first season of Better Call Saul from my sickbed, I have to reseed the ground – this will require a few bags of compost, grass seeds that I can’t smoke, and preferably an experienced gardener to do it all for me.
Ok, so the garden will look fantastic after all this hard work, but how am I supposed to enjoy that from the confines of my iron lung!
Paul Millard 2015