Watch out kid, it's Mee-Mee's jungle out there

Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our columnist is AWOL this week – or at least his column is – so we’re filling the space with this previous effort.

I’ve got a running gag going with our grandson Aiden every time he walks in or out of our house down the front sidewalk.

I tell him to watch out walking through Mee-Mee’s jungle and he watches carefully so as not to step on any of the jungle animals.

Fortunately, we haven’t acquired any jungle animals in the front yard — yet — but we do have quite a bit of growth going on there.

I suppose it all stems from the fact that Terry is an avid Master Gardener and has made her gardening visible, right in the front yard.

Like so many things, this has all grown over the years — yes, pun intended — from just a few little plants to a small botanical project.

It all started with hostas that she transplanted from elsewhere to line the front sidewalks.

Mostly, they came from our backyard, where I had tried for years to kill them by lawn mowing — unsuccessfully.

Scientists have said that if there were ever a nuclear holocaust that wiped out the planet, cockroaches might be the only things that survive.

If that’s true, and they did survive, it would only be if they ate hostas, because I don’t think even a nuclear holocaust could kill those things.

The hostas made a nice border along the sidewalks, but that apparently didn’t satisfy our resident green thumb.

Over the years, she has added various different flowers, bulbs, ferns and other various floriculture.

On the one hand, I should be grateful, since the more flowers she puts in, the less grass I have to mow — and over all these years, I have yet to develop any kind of fondness for mowing grass.

But while the garden is supplanting some of the grass in the front yard, it is also encroaching further and further on the sidewalks with each passing year.

I swear that she has found some kind of mutant alien plants and sprinkled them in among the stuff growing along the sidewalk.

Every year they seem to get taller, wider and leafier. It’s either that or our sidewalk is slowly shrinking away, and I can’t believe that’s the case.

Of course, right now I can’t really confirm or deny that with any certainty since much of the sidewalk isn’t really visible underneath all that overgrowth.

I can still feel the concrete underneath me when I walk out of the house, but unless I want to get down and do a jungle crawl to the driveway, I can’t really be sure.

The first time Aiden walked out to the car after it all reached its full growth, we had to have somebody posted on each end of the walk to make sure he actually came out at one end or the other and didn’t get lost in there.

It was either that or get one of those tall bicycle flags and attaching that to him to keep track of him as he walked down the sidewalk.

Hopefully, the plants have reached their maximum growth at this point and won’t be getting any taller. If they do, you won’t be able to see our house from the street anymore.

As it is, it’s almost to the point where you not only have to grab the car keys but also a machete if you want to take a drive anywhere.

The plants haven’t started calling out “Feed me, feed me,” yet — at least not that I’ve heard. But if I start hearing anything in the front yard that doesn’t sound like a grandson lost in the jungle, there may be some major exfoliation going on.

The good thing is that by the end of autumn all of those plants and flowers will have retreated and pretty much disappeared. At least, that’s what’s happened every other year.

They do leave behind a lot of dead leaves, flowers and other detritus on the ground which have to be raked up and gotten rid of, so they’re never really forgotten.

It just means that, by the time the plants have gotten to a point where we can actually see Aiden walking down the sidewalk, we start losing sight of him between the huge snow banks piled up on either side of the sidewalk.

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