Battle of the Bush


The holly bush grew larger and larger, the wild sprouts taller and more difficult to reach. Each time I seemed to have to climb to a higher step on the ladder until there were no steps left, at least none that could be navigated safely.

It started a few years ago when I had new landscaping done around my house. Most of my bushes were old, overgrown, and not the right kind of shrub anyhow. The new shrubs were small and beautiful. My house looked like new again. But the landscape guy left a few of the older shrubs that were established and fit into his plan.

One of the older shrubs was a large holly bush at the corner of the house. The shrub guy trimmed it and it looked very nice with the new ones – except for one thing. After being trimmed back, it developed the tendency to get unsightly tall branches springing straight up out of the top. These sprigs seemed to have a mind of their own and developed much faster than the rest of the shrub.

The holly bush became my nemeses. I would get the trimmers and cut off those shoots – in a month or less, they were back and had to be cut again. They were worse than weeds.

But the really terrible thing about this bush was that it was a holly bush and had thorns. If I get too close while trimming, it bites back. Every work session became a cat fight. Regardless of gloves and sweatshirts to protect me, I came inside after a gardening session with claw marks all over me.

In the battle with a thorn bush, the bush always wins.

The bush grew wilder and I became more depressed. Finally, I could stand it no longer. I got out my sheers and duct taped broom sticks on the handles so I could reach the tall sprigs. I’d show that bush who is boss!

But when the shears opened, the sticks were so wide apart I couldn’t manage them. I got my daughter to hold one pole while I held the other. It didn’t work. We couldn’t see the top of the bush and coordinate enough to trim off the sprigs.

Finally, my daughter had to tell me, “Mom, this isn’t going to work. Let the landscape guy come trim them.” She was right. I put away the stuff and went inside, hating to admit I’d been beaten by a bush.

But the lawn guy thought the weather was too hot for bush-trimming and suggested we wait until fall and do all the shrubs at once. That made sense, but what about the ugly bush?

I thought on it for a while, then I remembered – tree pruners. I needed a tree pruner! I checked online and Home Depot had one that was lightweight and 12 feet long. That should do it.

The next day I was off to the hardware store to buy the tree pruner. It was twice as much as I wanted to pay, but I justified it to myself by saying the bush is an ongoing problem and I would be using the pruner often.

The thing was so big it barely fit in my car, but I put part of the pole between the front seats and finally got the hatch to close.

“You are going to love my new trimmer,” I told my daughter.

“Mom, I thought you gave up on that idea,” she said.

“Give up? Me? I never give up. I refuse to be beaten by a bush.”

So, we went outside and tried it. The new pruner worked great. I lobbed off those ugly sprouts in no time, and didn’t get close enough to be scratched by the holly thorns.

So, I now have a new weapon in my arsenal of lawn tools.

Don’t ever tangle with a determined woman, especially when she is armed with a tree pruner.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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