The depths of August

Fifteen minutes earlier, it was impossible to sit there due to the fronds.


It’s worse every August, two months into the monsoon season. I curse my planting of so many things years ago when I was a horticultural ignoramus. The philodendron in the photo is an example. I’m resting my old bones after removing about a dozen of those huge leaves, which were drooping to the grass.

Speaking of grass, all of what you see and much, much more will be stone and concrete by January. That’s this fall’s reversal plan, turning greenery into lovely, maintenance-free rock.

By mid-August, the constant rain since early June has put muscle into the yard. I really should hire a gardener. But wait! I have one, Abel the Deadpan Yardman, and he does more than mow on occasion, mostly tossing what I cut into the ravine at the tail of the dead-end street out back. I just need to alter his job description.

When I replace this grass with stone, he’ll have even less to mow, but I’ll pay him the same, so I need to provide more chores.

Looking to another part of the yard, we encounter this below, the Willy-Nilly Zone, at least half of it. This is where the monster aloe vera lived until I had it removed last year. It was at the back, to the right. It monopolized at least a quarter of the space, and since its departure, eager beavers took up the slack. Most are weeds.

What is a weed? It’s a plant growing where you don’t want it.

I tried to control them at first, but it was an impossible task. Thankfully, the zone is trapped by stone and concrete! There are some desired plants in there. The datura tree, a stand of red-hot pokers, a bridal bouquet that doesn’t bloom much anymore, some lilies, that cactus in the foreground.

Also, a line of something I planted along the near border 18 years ago. And some ground cover my child bride tossed in there way back. But there are lots of weeds too. It all rather blends together, however. It’s not called the Willy-Nilly Zone for no reason.

Maybe I should yank it all out and lay concrete and stone.

That’s always a superlative option.

The Willy-Nilly Zone, full of Lord knows what.

12 thoughts on “The depths of August

  1. Looking really good, man. So is that distinguished fellow below the tree.

    Danna is looking forward to not having to deal with “yard” issues when we fly the coop. About 10 weeks and counting.


      1. Not quite right. Danna, like all her neighbors, has a ton of plants that require continuous watering and grow and grow and grow as well as trees that shed bean pods.

        And when the irrigation lines break, Danna has graciously taught me a new skill. Now I can compete with my undocumented immigrant neighbors with the new skill I have learned, repairing irrigation lines which I do on a weekly basis. lol!


        1. Marco: Nice to hear you’re not letting grass grow under your tush in your declining years, that you are acquiring new talents.

          And the correct term is illegal aliens.


  2. As much as I generally oppose your covering your yard with stone and concrete, I have to say that living here with absolutely ZERO garden care obligations is a delight. In Boston I have 1/8th acre of profoundly fecund soil. After I came back from California, it took me a good year or so to get things back under some vague semblance of “control.”

    By the way, “Horticultural Ignoramus” gave me a good chuckle. After all, what good is an ignoramus who doesn’t specialize?


    Kim G
    Roma Sur, CDMX
    Where sweeping up peeling paint flakes has replaced weeding as the “must-do” activity.


    1. Kim: I admire well-kept lawns. I just don’t want to be the person who keeps them well. Especially in a country full of people who will do that for a very economical price.

      Back in 1986, I was out for the first time mowing the yard of the house my then-wife and I had recently purchased. It was the first time I’d mowed a lawn since I was in the Air Force 23 years earlier. A neighbor walked by. I told him it was the first time I’d mowed a yard in decades. He said, “It hasn’t changed any, has it?”

      No, it had not.


      1. Well, when I bought my house, it was surrounded by lawn. At least if that’s what you can call a closely mowed patch of weeds. Fast forward 20 years and I have one patch of grass in back that’s maybe 250 square feet, e.g., tiny. About the size of a small putting green.

        And I do wonder why you don’t just have Abel the Deadpan Yardman do more.


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