Turf Wars

I have a problem. It’s my husband. He’s trying to usurp my position as yard guru.

Now some of you might be wondering why I would consider that a “problem” and not a gift from the soil gods. As in, I should happily and eagerly hand off that job and run like the wind to sweet, sweet yard freedom.

But here’s the deal: I have spent years and years laboring in our yard and for much of that time I was in what I would call a hostile work environment. To put it bluntly, my yard hated me.

It resisted every effort I made to become friends working together for landscape beatification. It took until last year for us to become besties, and now I don’t want to just willy-nilly say, “It’s all yours” to my husband.

The other issue, and perhaps a more pressing one, is that I don’t think he’s up to challenge. My husband lives in a fantasy land when it comes to Kansas yards. This is because during the pandemic he’s become enamored with the gardening legend Monty Don.

The trouble is that Monty lives in Great Britain and even though he has a show on the BBC called “Gardeners’ World” and creates jaw-dropping yards, including voluminous raised cut flower beds, that doesn’t mean his artistry will translate to the heavy clay soil of Kansas.

It’s not that I begrudge my husband his bromance with the British gardening legend. Watching Monty with his two dogs talk about tulips, sweet peas and “tidying bulbs” is very cathartic, but I don’t think we can replicate what Monty does in our yard.

Because I don’t want to be a killjoy and not encourage my husband in his new lust for gardening, I suggested we both embrace the yard. And so we started, I armed with my institutional knowledge and calluses, and he hugging his Monty Don books.

Sounds like a great plan right? Yeah, not so much, because my husband announced that he thought it would be a good idea to split up the tasks. I’m thinking, “That doesn’t sound too bad” — until he suggests that I take over the grass and he’ll do all the “flowers and stuff.”

Say what? The “flowers and stuff” are the fun part. Turf management is labor intensive and never ending. It’s like I got the job of cleaning the house every day while my husband is the interior decorator. Umm, no thank you.

I tried to explain to him that you do all the grass mowing, reseeding, soil amending etc., and then your reward for getting that needy behemoth taken care of is getting all down and dirty with the flowers. I went further and said my mojo can’t thrive on fescue alone.

We then reached a compromise that I would still do the turf nitty-gritty but also lend my superior guidance to plants and shrubs. So, off we went to a nursery to get our flower fix.

Oh, my. It was like when Princess Di told an interviewer that there were “three people in her marriage” because I was playing second fiddle to Monty Don. If you guessed I often heard the refrain, “Well, I don’t think Monty does that,” you’d be correct.

This led to me thinking a variety of uncharitable thoughts, including beating my husband with the Monty Don book he brought to the nursery. Finally, I just gave in.

My hope is that my spouse’s love affair with Monty Don won’t weather the withering Kansas summer and I’ll be back in charge, once again.