This is serious business, Roo, I've got some apologizin' to do!

My Dear Perennial Plants,

I adopted you along with the condo you surround, so I know that technically you’re my responsiblity. But unlike other adoptions–children, pets, highways, solar systems, ant farms, whole villages in the Amazon–I would’ve had to make an informed decision and committed serious resources to my adoptive responsibilities.

You came, de facto, with my new home–squatters that just showed up when the weather got nice. And you keep multiplying, blocking my sidewalks and up-turning my paver bricks. I bought this home because it was what people in the real estate business call “low maintenance.” You, my green-and-sometimes-flowering fellows, are “maintenance-magnets.”

Where's my house? I know it's around here somewhere! It was so easy to find in the winter...

I’m many things, but a gardener isn’t one of them. I am deeply sorry for …

  • …confusing the word perennial with no maintenance. You still need water. Water makes you grow. Growing makes you replicate like Tribbles on that episode of Star Trek.

    Even these Star Fleet-trained professionals can't figure out what to do with creatures that replicate at will.

  • …not knowing what to do with you when you have taken over everything around you. If I stop watering, you’ll look droopy and I’ll feel guilty that you’re dying. Other gardeners tell me to “thin you out.” If I cut you, will you not bleed (or leak)? I abhor human-on-plant violence.

    I wouldn't want to run into her in a dark alley or a sunny garden...

  • …being unable to distinguish amongst you. Which of you are expensive-to replace plants and which of you are weeds? I can identify exactly three plants: grass (the lawn kind, not the get-you-high-and-party-on-the-lawn kind), hostas, and bushes.

    These Future Gardeners of America tried to help me discern plants from weeds by creating this nice picture chart. But when nap-time came, the whole thing had to be disassembled because it was built on someone's Blankie.

  • …having a worm phobia that defies logic and a cure; thus I am very unlikely to do any activity that may bring me within visual range of a worm.

    Look closely. That's not a bull or a snake. It's a worm. I don't care if it was photo-shopped. It was the least gross picture I could find and the fact that even one worm picture is in this story proves I'd go to any length for a laugh.

  • …not having enough disposable income to hire a proper gardener to take care of you, preferable one who is easy on the eyes and doesn’t mind frequent interruptions…

He'll do. He seems strong, confident, and those gardens look pretty darned nice. And he looks like he enjoys the company of a lady now and again.

Lest you think me lazy or disinterested, I’ve tried to become a gardener. I don’t think it works that way; it’s like height. I can’t just decide to become taller. No matter how many books I read, motivational CDs I listen to or hypnosis sessions I attend, I will not become significantly taller or become an enthusiastic gardener.

You will love gardening. You will learn the latin and common names for all perennial plants. You will weed with a happy heart. You will have the body of a super model.

Don’t worry, Perennial Plant Platoon. I’ll wrestle with the water hose like it’s an anaconda in the Amazon looking for it’s next squeeze-toy so you can get the nourishment you need to take over my patio and walkway. I pull what I think are weeds away so you can spread out even more. I’ll even clear your dead bodies after the first frost so you can have a proper burial.

But, I’m sorry, I’ll dread spring when you poke your eager heads out of the wormy ground and spread out like greedy squatters around my little “no-maintenance” condo.

Sincerely,  Lorna

These squatters aren't even trying to disguise themselves.