The Garden of Weeden

When we moved into our humble abode we were very excited that it had a yard. A small little yard with a persimmon tree and beautiful vines. I added a wooden bench and although the grass was a bit dead, it was very charming and Archer and the dogs and I spent many an afternoon playing in the dirt.

We had been talking about fixing it up, making it really nice, getting a rod-iron table and maybe some lanterns or a grill and a sand-box. A sand-box would be really family of us.

My parents must have read my mind because for Archer's 1st birthday, he received a beautiful new shiny boat-shaped sand-box with a steering wheel and a veranda. High class. I couldn't wait to get it all set up back there.

We decided to make the yard really nice, a haven for Archer's boat, somewhere to enjoy, a little oasis! We dug up the dead grass and the top layers of dirt, getting our hands dirty and shit, but unfortunately our yard-makeover-project was abandoned when the next morning it was 641 degrees. Far too hot to work the yard. The days passed and pretty soon the weeks and finally the months. Two months...

And then the "beautiful" vines took over. They grew over everything, the dirt and the grass and the bench and even started growing inside Archer's room. They grew over the sand-box-box and into my soul.

Poor sand-box, all alone under all of that foliage. Poor me, brown-thumbed and depressed at our mess of a yard.

I come from a family of gardening professionals. My mother and aunt both being impressive gardeners featured in magazines and my Nana, well, the woman is queen of all things green, an author and gardening pro who travels the world talking shop and knowing everything.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to contact my Nana because she has been spending the summer on the family island off the coast of Maine. Sounds fancy but really it's like camping with little shelter, no electricity and/or plumbing but at least it's a family island. I'm not going to complain.

(Nana Backstory: When my grandfather passed away, my Nana decided to take all of her grandchildren (five of us) anywhere we wanted to go in the world. She took my cousin, Erica to Africa, my brother to Turkey and Greece and me to Italy, Spain and France. She was in a wheel-chair at the time (she has bad knees) so we traveled with a chauffeur and I pushed her along cobblestone streets, many a mile, her pointing her cane at horny Italians as to keep them away from her eighteen-year-old granddaughter. "Shoo! Shoo!," she said.

Because she was in a wheelchair we never waited in a single line. Not at the Sistine Chapel or the Pompidou or The Louvre. We even bypassed the six hour wait at the Uffizi. Lesson learned: the only way to travel during high season is with a Nana in a wheelchair.)*

So meanwhile as we struggle with our gardening crisis, Archer's Na-nana is rough'n it on ze island de familia. SO now what? This is the very question we have been asking ourselves.

After weeks of wringing our hands and pacing and trying to figure out what the hell we are going to do with our mess of a yard so we can set up the damn sand-box sometime before Archer's Bar Mitzvah, we have done what any respectable local would do in our desperate situation. We called TLC, HGTV and DIY and filled out online applications for a makeover. Please pray our backyard gets a call-back.

The most important lesson I have learned living in the H-wood is that if you can't do it yourself, find a TV show that can do it for you.

And so we wait...


*I just realized that this is a blog post in itself. Coming soon...


Nicole R. | 2:16 AM

Good luck with your garden! At least your dogs are gorgeous. Are they both boxers? One seems too small.

I personally love to garden, but even I had to scale back this year -- nothing like a baby to cut into your free time.

Anonymous | 3:11 AM

Hope you get onto one of those tv shows. I tried for my Mum.. apparently her yard wasn't shithouse enough. Shame, really.

toyfoto | 3:45 AM

Thank God for TV and Nanas.

Anonymous | 6:03 AM

Ugh. A garden. I'm sooo not a garden person. However, those weeds would drive me batty.

Then I'd hire a gardener.


Anonymous | 6:47 AM

I'm no gardener but we have this problem as well and my advice is to get out there and start tearing that shit up. Pull them off of anything they are clinging to or cut them back. It will clean up your yard and might be a good stress reliever. If you need that kind of a thing..

Andrea | 7:29 AM

I am so not a gardener, so I'd be competing with you for one of those makeover my yard shows. Although I remember the more overrun gardens in my neighborhood being more fun to play in, in an Alice in Wonderland/Secret Garden kind of way.

Karen | 8:36 AM

All the other post-modern-Trader-Joe type mommys(no offense to anyone who shops at Trader Joes, really. No, really...) will scoff at this and throw up their hands in horror, but the only way to deal with that is to use Round-up or some other such killer of all things green. If you chop them down, they will come back. More of them will come back. And every time you cut them back, they will grow again. My friend, it's time for the destruction to commence.

Sometimes we have to burn it all down to the ground to get it to grow anew.

Anonymous | 9:08 AM

you could have always called me to give it a little "queer eye" make-over. i keep a good garden
LOL. miss ya sweets


Oh dear. I see that many of you need the assistance of camera-ready professionals as well. I'll drop your names if we make the cut.

Nicole R- The little one is a Boston Terrier, very similar to a Boxer in personality, just smaller. Great dogs, both of them. Amazing with kids.

Frank- Are you offering your services? DUDE! I'll supply the wine spritzer and apps. COME OVER AND SAVE ME!

Karen- I think you're right. Problem is we have animals so I get nervous. I'm also very anti-killing anything alive. Like, if an innocent spider fell prey to the poison, I would feel awful. It's kind of insane.

Giddy- They are Morning Glory vines and at first I thought they were glorious. (Hee). Now I hate their guts. Assholes. If we don't get the show I'm going back there with SLAYER on my IPOD and I'm going to go apeshit on their tangled asses.

Unknown | 11:30 AM

As soon as I read Garden of Weeden, I immediately thought about that episode of King of Queens. I love that show!


I've never seen it (King of Queens) but they must have them some cleva writers. JK.

Binky | 12:38 PM

I applied for a HGTV show where they bring in a marriage therapist and a designer to figure out why our house isn't a more harmony-inspiring environment. I got a call back and they were all ready for us to come in for an interview, but it turned out we were about an hour and a half too far from NYC for the producer's liking. Sigh. I can really relate to your weeds, metaphorically speaking. It's like my disorganization is this big vine strangling the household. Hopefully your problem is a little more aesthetic than that, though. I'll be looking forward to seeing the "After" pictures. I'm jealous of you West Coasters that are near all the good HGTV show producers. Go get 'em!

Gina | 12:50 PM

I applied for the same home makeover for my back yard last year and they never called... the jerks.

The same vine stuff ate my veggie garden this year and then we had a microburst storm finish it off. Lovely back yard... just lovely.

Hope you can find the sandbox soon! That first photo of Archer looks like an old fashion shot... so early 1900... cool!

Heather | 1:42 PM

I had grand plans this year for the garden at our first house. It looks like a weed explosion. Every time family comes over I just tell them that "next year" is when we have big plans to make it look decent.

I went to disney when I was a kid and had a knee that was so bad my parents rented the wheelchair so I could see the place? We too skipped every line. How cool is your Nanny too!

Anonymous | 3:08 PM

I'm a little upset by your pictures. Why?...I have seen those vines before. They are X-Files vines and will grow into your house and attack the TV. If you cannot stop them they will take over the channel selctor. The end result is no reception except Fox. The only defense is a weed killer like Round Up. Fight back before it's too late!!!

Chicky | 3:24 PM

Maybe a morning glory relocation program?? Hee...

Mom101 | 4:25 PM

Ooh, can I write a letter of recommendation or something? You guys would be great on one of those shows. Plus, it would give you a great excuse to buy some new tv-ready hats for A.

Anonymous | 5:09 PM

That variety of morning glory you have is the same one they plant on the side of freeways. (I know because I have the same stuff growing over a wrought iron gazebo in my backyard.) The good news is that it's gorgeous, the bad news is that it thrives in the heat and is a tough plant... oh wait, actually that's the good news. You can totally hack at the vines and not hurt the overall plant and it will bloom all summer. It probably looks great along the fence, right? Just not ALL OVER the backyard? I would go to the base of the plant where all the runners start and just cut straight across with your pruning shears, just like they were scissors. Then you can either yank it all up like a carpet or wait a couple days to dry out. If you wait a couple of days, anything that has rooted will still be green and you can yank that up separately.

I know it seems like a huge project but it will probably only take you an hour to pull a majority of it up. I go out in to my yard and do a 20 minute "runner yank" about once a month in the summer. Good luck!

kittenpie | 9:02 PM

I am totally hopeless. My front yard is such an embarassment - the part that is not dirt is crabgrass. My excuse for now is that starting next year we'll be parking roughly a bin per year on it and there's no point until we're done... Yeah, that's the ticket.

Kristen | 1:02 PM

Our back yard sucks, too. Hope your hollywood proximity comes through for you. I think we're screwed, though. My kids are destined to play in the weeds for their entire childhood.