An English In Kentucky



















August 23rd 2009

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    I have learned to think of them as hot weather grasses, cool weather grasses and annual grasses.   Then, so long as they are diligently mowed on a higher blade setting, and the cuttings are left to rot down, they will together form an enjoyable community of cultures.  A turf built this way may not ever achieve purity, but it will have a remarkable tolerance to season, it will feed Field and Chipping Sparrows through the winter, and there will be communion with other plant species like violets in shady spots and clovers in sunny spots that provide for a sense of that jostling out of which I think contented gardens are achieved.  

   Pure thoughts for some may be an absence of crab grass.  In my mind, however, there has long appeared a yearning for purity in that distinction between the rag-tag collective that is grass and those parts of land which are cultivated for a jostling of flowers and vegetables.  Grasses that creep, and I think my prime enemy is called Bermuda grass, become the object of evil thoughts.  And I have found that against grasses that creep, polite edging will not suffice.



    I once had an affair with pine four by four ground treated fence posts.  They could be easily arrayed and tied together.  After two or three years they marry their color to the surrounds, they lose most of their surface poison and even though carpenter bees cherish them they last a good long time.  But they are expensive and even though they can deliver a splinter worthy of medieval flagellanti they are far too comfortable a solution for one seeking serious martyrdom.    

    Last fall I laid down some of the most unattractive edging conceivable.  It is now mostly covered with growing things, but after the frost it will re-emerge from concealment and tap me on the forehead.  Yet there is no plant creeping through this edging or under this edging and anything that tries to creep over this edging is quickly spotted and daintily discouraged.  As well it is an edging that drains.

    This fall I will make more of it.  And while I struggle with the physical effort these forms require of me, and while I endeavor to produce in these forms a more soothing appearance, I will contemplate 'preoccupation with barrier' as a theme in the thing that is being. 

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tim candler

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