The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Weird Garbage Day and the War of the Groundcovers

My community, a close-in and rather urban suburb of a major city, has the usual combination of pros and cons, but one of the best things we do is what I call “Weird Garbage Day.” I think it should be a national holiday celebrated in every community, but it would have to occur in phases. Maybe “Weird Garbage Month”? Anyway, this is the Saturday on which we put out our large, odd-shaped, heavy, and miscellaneous cast-offs that the regular garbagemen can’t and won’t take. The powers that be in my city have divided us into four quadrants, and each quadrant has a designated Saturday in April on which weird garbage will be collected. Hazardous waste and large or complicated electronics aren’t allowed — they must be taken to a central location — but just about everything else is. I love Weird Garbage Day, and so do my neighbors.

In previous years, I’ve unloaded an old lawnmower, a broken vacuum cleaner, and the remnants of an ancient chair. This year, I had a huge amount of stuff: a bicycle I rode religiously for 3 years but not for the last 10, an old bed frame, a mirror that was too heavy to hang, a briefcase that had seen better days, a nonfunctioning phone, and a portable cassette player (remember those?). The great thing is that everything I listed in the previous sentence was gone before the garbagemen arrived. “The scavengers,” as we refer to them on my block, drive around in big trucks the day before and collect anything they think they can refurbish and sell or use. The scavengers include antique-dealers, second-hand store owners, and the very thrifty. It’s a great way of recycling, in other words. All we have to do is get the stuff to the curb, and if anyone with more imagination, time, and skill sees something they can use, they take it. Everyone wins. I love it!

At the same time, I have launched the war of the groundcovers in my front yard. Your living room is probably bigger than my front yard. You may even have a closet that’s bigger. Yet the diminutive size does not solve the problem of ugly grass and weeds that must be mowed, even though they don’t have the decency to cover the entire yard. Yes, I have bare patches. It looks like 20 teenagers spent the weekend playing touch football on it. Which would be difficult, given its size, and anyway, I can assure you this didn’t happen. So why not plant a bunch of groundcovers and see if they do better? Right now I have woolly thyme, something called Majus, variegated vinca, golden clover, and Scottish moss. I bought more plants today, including another short thyme, but they will mostly go in the back yard, which is bigger and not as problematic. Anyway, I am hoping these new groundcovers will take over the yard eventually, although it will take a while. My highest hopes are for the woolly thyme and variegated vinca. I am least optimistic about the Scottish moss and golden clover, but they could surprise me. And the majus is a complete unknown. As long as they eventually fill in the bare spots, I’ll be happy. Wiping out the grass would be a wonderful bonus.

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April 19, 2008 - Posted by | gardening, random thoughts | , , , , , , , ,

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