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Wednesday, May 10, 2006  

The Heartbreak of Infertility

We've had lots of rain the past week or two. Which is good, because it means I don't have to spend as much time watering the new grass back there.

Yes, I've seeded the back yard. For the fifth year in a row.

Right now it's the best time, when it's been a few weeks since the seeding and the bright-green blades are popping up. It's always a heartening sight. One tries to forget that in a few more weeks, all those adorable little plants, symbolic of hope and rebirth and the circle of life and all that happy crappy, will be dead.

But I'm making progress. There's a little less bare ground every spring. Even Trash has to admit that every year, when the snow melts, there's a little more green underneath. Which is a nice change from what she's been doing the past couple of years, which is to come up with reasons to minimize the yard space and thus the area of dead, barren land.

"Why don't we extend the patio a little further this year?" she might say.

"How far?" I might hypothetically respond.

"To the property line," this entirely speculative exchange would end.

But now she's pulling for the grass. I knew she'd come around. All it took was persistence, and she's recognizing that now. It's been a lot of work, but I can now definitively say that a healthy, green, resilient lawn in our back yard is at most fifteen or twenty years away.

While the grass has been making progress, there's one thing I don't understand. Trash's favorite flower is the lilac. We didn't have any lilac bushes on our property when we moved in. We always said we'd have them at our next house. But eventually I got tired of making her wait, and I went to the nursery and bought her one, which I planted next to the garage. This was a gift for her anniversary, which is in September, so I of course wasn't expecting any lavender blooms that year. We'd just have to wait until spring.

Spring came, and nothing. But it was still relatively new there, and it had been a rough winter. Something would come out next spring, we were sure. And the next, and the next.

And the next.

Here it is now, I think the fifth spring since I bought that stupid thing, and we've never gotten more than a greenish-brown sprig or two. Purple is bursting out all over the neighborhood, and all we get of it is when we ask M. Small to say it.

Maybe it's the stubbornly arid soil of my backyard. Or maybe the lilac bush just doesn't get enough sun where it is.

I know: problem solved. If it goes another year without blooming, I'll just knock down the garage.

posted by M. Giant 8:53 PM 6 comments


Strangely, I planted a lilac tree (a bush, really, it's so young) in the front yard five years ago. It's strange because while it bothers to push forth a few wilted leaves to show that I shouldn't mow over it just yet, it has yet to bother with the whole bloom thing. I'm not sure whether it's a dude, a runt, or just taking its bloody time blooming.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 11, 2006 at 2:33 AM  

My mother has seeded and carefully tended our large back lawn every year for the last 23 years - and it still looks like crap. Except for that one time someone left a bag of fertilizer out all night and it rained - so we had a steroidally green patch that year. And we too have bought flowering bushes that never did much.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 11, 2006 at 2:59 AM  

I bought a lilac bush 6 years ago and it didn't bloom until this spring. I did some checking last year and found out from a local nursery guy that it's not uncommon for them to be bloomless for 4-5 years. Or maybe it was the threat of the woodchipper....

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 11, 2006 at 4:50 AM  

Lilacs do need a lot of sun to bloom. Some idjit planted a whole row of them along the property line of my old house -- in the shade zone of the neighboring woodlot. They were already mature bushes when we moved in, and they never bloomed once in the fifteen years I lived there. The four little ones I planted out in the full sun at the front of the yard bloomed the first Spring and every year after.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 11, 2006 at 5:22 AM  

I know there must be a way to blame Dr. Jellyfinger for this. Maybe you should tell the U of M you found part of a Lakota settlement. Then maybe they'd get that archeological ground-sonar thing and scan the backyard.

Can't be more than, what, a couple drums of medical waste down there. How long did the guy own the house?

By Blogger Febrifuge, at May 11, 2006 at 12:10 PM  

We have a lot of mature trees in our backyard that put out a lot of shade, so a lawn was thought pretty much impossible for a long, long time. We've been here like 16 years and my dad never really bothered with trying to grow grass. Last year I had the brilliant idea of trying yet again, and buying one of those mats that's supposed to help germinate the seed and then breakdown in an awesome environmental way. Except it needs sun to do that. So we spent an entire afternoon digging up the soil, getting rid of roots, mixing in good dirt with the clay, seeding, and fertilizing, and have nothing to show for it, because while some grass did grow, it all died. This year I went at it and just threw down some grass seed, and it seems to be working, although it still doesn't seem strong enough to walk on, so we've been circumventing all traffic down the side of the house and around to the patio, which is a pain. Good luck with your mission, it is possible, just give it another couple of years, then buy sod if you're desperate.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 12, 2006 at 4:08 PM  

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