The past few months I have been so busy writing book two of my vampire trilogy, Horror At The Lake, that I have neglected the plants in front of my house. I don't have a front yard, so my landscaping is confined to the parkway and consists of a sprawling oleander a neighbor's gardener saved from certain death and a small juniper yearning to become a larger one if only I would water it more. There is also an assortment of weeds growing in the crack between the sidewalk and the garage door, but I'll get to those later.
When I say I've neglected these plants, I mean small weeds grew around them, as well as piles of dead leaves from the trees down the street that lose them every fall. I think current batch dated from the fall of 2012. The saga of the decline of the oleander started when the neighbor next door insisted I cut it down. She thought it was a dangerous tree. It's actually three plants, each buried in metal containers that are now encased in cement. It used to be tall and willowy and it hid my side gate, which is also my front gate, from the street. Before my neighbor demanded that I cut it down, I never saw the leaves, trash and weeds accumulating underneath it. The brush was too thick. I had the gardener of the neighbor on my other side trim it down to four feet to keep the peace. Then a year later, the oleander started to die--one plant at a time. It really looked sad. The gardener said I had to water it and I had him cut the dead leaves off. I never had to water it before. It used to grow like a weed. I like the neighbor who wanted the oleander cut down, but she isn't a tree lover. She got the city to cut down a cottonwood tree on her area of the parkway, because its roots grew in her pipes. They grew in mine, but because I installed a cleanout, the city agreed to clean out the roots in my pipes. None of that is necessary now because she made them cut it down. I should add that she made me cut down a palm tree that grew in my backyard planter along our adjacent fence. It had been there for years as a small plant, but after a cat had kittens in the planter, it grew twenty feet tall.
Every afternoon I like to walk to the park. A few days ago, on my way to the park I noticed a gruff- looking woman, about fifty or so, sweeping my neighbor's parkway--the neighbor whose gardener I hired for the oleander--not the tree-hater. The woman had on clothes so gray and grimy she looked like a homeless person. But she was intent on her task of sweeping and cutting grass on the parkway with a small pair of scissors. The gardener has a helper but he doesn't employ women. And when he shows up, he always parks his truck in front. This woman didn't have a car.
As I continued walking, the woman moved to the house next to that one, sweeping the parkway and snipping weeds. I knew she didn't work for the city because city workers wear black or white vests with orange stripes on them.
I didn't ask her why she was tidying the block. But two days later, on my walk to the park I noticed all the dead leaves and weeds around the oleander and the juniper were swept clean. And even the weeds growing in the sidewalk crack that runs the length of the garage door, were gone. Snipped away.
I couldn't believe my luck. I had planned to work on the parkway in the spring, but now it's done. The only downside I experienced was today, when I watered the geraniums in the backyard, the hose nozzle was loose and the water squirted all over me. I don't know how someone got in my yard--it's gated. Oh, well. It was hot out.
It looks a whole lot better now that it's swept
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