Keeping the Day Job


Yesterday I spent time working in my garden,
but rather than calming and rejuvenating my spirit, the work agitated.


Two words:  Euonymus coloratus.

Years ago when I began landscaping the slope in my backyard,
a gardening expert recommended I plant Euonymus (yoo-onuh-muhs)
and some evergreen-juniper-creeping stuff to prevent soil erosion.

Good news: the soil didn’t erode.
Bad news: the groundcover ran amok.
Last fall I removed the evergreens and yesterday I cut back tons of
Euonymus that’s choking out other plants.

It made me crabby knowing that all the sweat and effort and money
I’d put into my garden was literally being strangled by those shiny green stems and leaves.

Now I’m faced with several options:
a)  cut back the Euonymus each and every year with the knowledge the roots will grow thicker
b)  dig out the deeply rooted and pervasive Euonymus with the knowledge I’ll destroy other plants in the process
c)  avert my gaze

All this got me thinking about writing, of course.
I just finished a major revision in which I killed off a character,
deleted an entire plot line, heavily revised two-thirds of the book,
and completely rewrote the last third.

I’m not afraid of hard work.
But I’ve realized that while I love gardening, I prefer it on a low maintenance level.
I like to putter around, but even more I enjoy sitting on my patio,
admiring the flowers.  Watching the butterflies and listening to birds.
Writing novels.

Moral of this story?
I’m keeping my day job.

17 thoughts on “Keeping the Day Job

  1. Whew! Sounds like hard work – both the gardening and writing. I’m there with you! Sorry I don’t have any advice for the invasive groundcover plant – I would tend to avert my eyes, but I know that doesn’t solve anything.


    • Well, I went back out and cut some more yesterday. After further assessment, I think I need to continue cutting back and not worry about digging it out. The plants do hold the soil so I’ll just cut WAY back. There will probably be some gaze-averting, too, though. 🙂


    • I don’t mean to give it a bad name. If I just needed to “hold the slope,” Euonymus is a good choice. It’s beautiful and in the fall/winter is a purple color. Just not good stuff for when you want flowers, too.


  2. Hmmm. Are those lambs ears poking up through the Euone-macallit? No advice here. I’m strictly a backseat gardener. Mr. C does it all…or not…and I hold my tongue and pick the beets when they’re ready.


    • Good eye! Yes, that’s Lamb’s Ear. Another invasive plant. Zippy was just bemoaning an enormous patch we have right next to the basketball court but I pointed out it’s the healthiest thing in the yard.

      Roasted beets are delicious. Have you tried them that way? Yum.


    • I did some more cutting yesterday and decided I will continue to cut it back. Digging up would be incredibly difficult, plus, the soil would erode. So I’ll keep the clumps (minus most of the green) and let my flowers have their space, too.

      Looking forward to getting back to sweating over a ms.


    • I didn’t mean to totally diss the plant; it’s great for holding the slope and would be the perfect choice if I didn’t want flowers, too. It turns purple in the fall/winter, and is quite lovely.

      Butterflies, birds, and flowers are very nice components of gardening.


      • I like some invasive plants–mint, bamboo, but in my gardens I do specific things to contain them. I don’t have a garden now and haven’t for years. I MISS my gardens.

        That poor plant–might feel sad. If it can read.

        I wasn’t sure if anyone I knew had read the article. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed Bologna.


      • I was wondering if you had the chance to garden anymore. What did you do to contain invasive plants?

        I had to smile about the plant feeling sad because it read what I wrote. I do feel bad about harming its reputation, though.

        I’d bet lots of people are like me and don’t get to The Bulletin as soon as it arrives. But then one day they’ll pick it up, read your article, and say (what I said) “I know Sarah! This is so cool!”


      • We are in an apartment, so can’t garden.
        We did have a house and yard in Iceland, but it was too cold to grow anything–tulips bloomed in June.
        Finland–I was able to grow peas. Brazil–it was warm enough but I wasn’t familiar with the climate and soil. But the yard was still fun–orchids were growing there!

        I haven’t gotten my Bulletin yet. I’m excited to see it in print.
        That article was a gift–I was asked to write it.


      • Tulips, peas, and orchids. It sounds as if you covered all the gardening bases in your travels. 🙂

        That’s so very cool you were asked to write the article, Sarah. It doesn’t surprise me, though, since you did a fantastic job blogging about the conference. Yes!


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