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This Mulch I Know: Ladies Love The Landscapers

This mulch I know, ladies love the landscapers. David Williams tells the story of how he knows this:

I don’t understand the feminist movement.  And I love women, as most men do.  I might have written Seinfeld’s observation:  “Wherever women are, we have men right there, right now, there only to make them happy.”  With appropriate rewards.  But still.  So, I’m not saying I disagree with feminism.

It might be the next coming of the Declaration of Independence, which is a thing I understand, and agree with.  Jefferson and his friends had a philosophical disagreement with George that could best be described as, “Them’s fightin’ words”.  I’m just trying to figure out what the fightin’ words are here.  Women, I have to say this: you might under appreciate where you have us.

I say this only because I’m responsible for the mulch in the yard.

“I should have listened to my wife.”

We had an epic rain early in the week, some of that atmospheric river we didn’t know about until it was decided everybody had to know everything.  Several inches in a matter of a few hours, flash floods everywhere, yada yada.

Last week we had winterized the yards, which is cutting back all the shrubs, roses, and decorative grasses, and putting down new pine needle ground cover.  Here is what you need to know: her job is to host Master Gardner teas, and my job is everything I just said.

Pine needles make a nice and easy ground cover.  Sort of a carpet effect.  But not all the yard is pine needles: some areas get standard wood chip mulch, like the stepping stone walkway from the street to the house.  If I just put pine needles there they soon cover over the stones, so I was told.  So, yes ma’am, I put the wood chip mulch around those, and several other places for the same reason.  I was ordered to.  I use black mulch to set it off against reddish pine needles and the gray house.  Of course.

So then comes this old testament rain.  The next morning I go out and find that the wood mulch had lost all its color, so it looked like ground up driftwood.  Aiming to please, I get on the internet and find that I can order color for mulch.  Who knew?

“The grass is always greener on the other side.”

It comes in a half gallon container, you mix 4 ounces of it in a gallon of water, and spray it on with a pump sprayer, like a weed killer sprayer.  Eureka.  But Fran said, “Would be a lot easier to just go to Home Depot and get a couple of bags for $10 and sprinkle it on top.”

Well, she’s right, except for two things:  (1) I can order the colorant from Amazon and they’ll bring it right to me, with a smile, and (2) this was my idea, not hers.  So I couldn’t back down.  “Okay, do it that way if you want,” she said.  “But it sounds like a lot of work to me.  And be careful with it.”  She just had to say that.  “Be careful with it.”  No way I could back down from that.

Two days later it arrives, and it then dawns on me that if mix up a gallon of it I’ll have more than I would use in a year.  So I ciphered out what was necessary to mix up enough to go in a Windex bottle.

Oh my.  I just didn’t realize how much liquid one gets on unintended places, until that liquid is black paint.

It really works on the mulch, which means if you get it on your hands and touch anything, like a car door, it works on that, too.  And on pants and shoes and the driveway.  I would touch something, wipe it off with a cloth, then touch something else, then wipe it with that same cloth, which now had that stuff on it, so just made a bigger mess.  It was a multiplying mess, like those little tribbles on Star Trek.

This mulch I know on Chezgigi.com
“That’s the tribble with mulch.”

I finally had to back away, physically, and start over with a new mindset.  Put gloves on.  Be careful, like she said.  I finally got the spray bottle secure, and started spraying.

Worked great, for about 5 squirts.  Then it turned out that the liquid was slightly too thick for the spray pump to work properly.  It would spray out, but then would take 4 or 5 seconds for the trigger to return to the ready position.  So it was ‘squirt … wait, wait, wait … squirt … wait, wait, wait … squirt ….’, and so forth.  And I’m doing this at my feet, so I’m doing all this waiting while alternating between bent over and squatted down, the affected joints being good for about 5 squirts at that rate.  It didn’t go good at all.

But I had planned for that.  I waited until Fran went to her yoga class to do it.  With her typical grocery stop afterward, I had about two hours, which I figured was way plenty of time, because I figured for about half an hour for the whole deal.  Instead, I had just put everything away, wiped down every surface I might have touched, like a guy cleaning up after murdering his mother-in-law, and changed clothes just as she came in the door.  Two hours.  I could have driven to Home Depot, bought the two bags, put them out, all in 40 minutes.  Two hours to do my better plan.

“So as she walked in I leaned against the kitchen counter like Steve McQueen, cool as could be.  I said, “Go look at the mulch.”

This mulch I know on chezgigi.com
“Go on. Go look at the mulch. Now. Before I get really mad.”

She went out, came back.  “It looks great!!  You were right, that was the way to do it.  Worked out like you thought?”

“Easy peasy.”

I didn’t say, “Told you so” (I do have standards), and she didn’t apologize for doubting me.  It remains an uneasy truce.  She knows something is wrong, just doesn’t know what.

You women just don’t understand what you put us through, the aggravation required to make our ineptitude look intentional.  You sure you want to give that up?

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10 thoughts on “This Mulch I Know: Ladies Love The Landscapers

  • January 16, 2023 at 8:08 pm

    I dont comment on my stories, which you are a sweetheart, if misguided, to post, but this time I have to say: Your graphics and captions are 80% of the appeal. You could do that for hire.

    • January 16, 2023 at 9:29 pm

      One of the many reasons I no longer use colored mulch. It fades in normal use. And it stains the sidewalk at the same time. Nope. Basic wood colored wood chips for me.

  • January 16, 2023 at 9:10 pm

    Black, red, bark colored. It doesn’t matter what color the mulch is, because the weeds are going to grow up through it anyway. You’ll pull the weeds for awhile, but that gets old and your back hurts. So when the weeds get to a certain height, you just mow them. Easy peasy.
    Like Pappy Larue always said when I was a kid, “If it’s green and you mow it, it’s lawn.”

    • January 16, 2023 at 9:16 pm

      Most of my “garden” was weeds. Pretty ones, too. The rest of the garden was dirt. Easy peasy!

    • January 16, 2023 at 10:06 pm

      What you say is true. However, because I work under direction rather than of my own foresight, everything that the house isn’t sitting on – and I am raising my right hand – is covered by weed block cloth. Somebody like Big Lots was getting rid of it, so for $50 she got enough to cover every square inch. It’s a very small lot, but that’s a lot of weed block. Installation was simple; all she did was point, and 4 hours later it was done. When she plants something new, she just digs through it. That’s a lie. I dig through it.

      Then again, the whole point of mulch is that it ‘amends the soil’ – gardeners really do talk like that – which is the building of a nutrient layer. I dont know what any of that means, but weeds just love it, so you get weeds on top of the weed block, too. She wont let me use weed killer because bugs eat the poisoned weeds then birds eat the bugs. So what I do instead is keep a gallon of it where she cant see it, behind the shovel collection in the corner of the garage. This is military grade stuff: you spray it on something and watch it die. Is fun. We’re talking spot weeding, not a general broadcast, so I dont think it affects bugs and birds. But lets keep this just between us.

  • January 16, 2023 at 9:39 pm

    How do you tell weeds from desirable plants? Well, weeds are the ones that grow even if you don’t water or fertilize them. Also, instead of producing tasty edible things or beautiful flowers, they produce burrs and stickers and seeds that blow in the wind and produce yet more weeds.

    • January 19, 2023 at 10:30 pm

      Aha. But there are weeds that are useful- like nettle, right? Makes a good tea. Or dandelion wine. I’d like to make dandelion wine. Sounds interesting.

  • January 20, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Try wildflowers.

    They are pretty weeds,

    and they require NO maintenance.


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