Spring seems to be the time of year when people try to “turn over a new leaf.” They spring clean their house, start a new exercise program, change jobs, and purchase a different car….you name it. In the 16th century, turning over a new leaf meant turning a page of a book to a new blank page, a page that was fresh, empty, and ready to be filled. In the spring, empty flower beds are starting to fill with daffodils and yards full of brown grass are turning green – that is, if the yard man winterized the yard the right way. In November, the authors wrote about winterizing a relationship, assuring the readers that, “The yard of the week in the spring was the one that was weeded six months earlier.” Spring has sprung, so how did your yard man do last fall? Did your yard make it through the winter without growing too many dandelions? Did your relationship make it through a weed-free winter?
If your yard man did not winterize your relationship last fall, then your natural areas and flower boxes could be full of winter debris, such as broken tree limbs, dead leaves, or old pine needles. And the yard certainly wouldn’t be growing new, green grass either. This neglectful yard man forgot to do the little things that result in a long-term, romantic relationship. He stopped listening to his partner; his compliments came few and far between; he missed a birthday or anniversary; he failed to recognize the need for physical affection and sex in a timely manner. In other words, he stopped talking to the plants; he forgot the fertilizer; he neglected to turn the sprinkler on, and he forgot to trim the bushes.
Last winter, if you were in a relationship with a good yard man, you should be reaping the benefits of his expertise this spring. The best yard man could be considered a landscape architect, one with a Ph.D. in agricultural science. This strong, manly graduate nurtured his yard. He plugged, seeded, and fertilized the entire lawn, front and back. He planted new flower bulbs in immaculately cleaned flower beds and natural areas, making sure that he trimmed any dead, lifeless limbs from shrubs and trees. In other words, Dr. Wood showed his appreciation for his relationship by paying attention to the emotional and physical needs of his partner. He first asked how his partner’s day was and then listened while waiting to talk about his day; he opened doors for her, helped with putting on her coat, and pulled out her chair. He was not controlling, possessive, or jealous. The best landscapers help their partner grow and understand what he or she needs to cultivate deep roots, made of confidence, values, and the courage to grow personally and professionally.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you are evaluating the performance of your yard man and trying to decide if you need a new one. Sometimes the current yard man just needs a little feedback and direction on when and where to plug, seed, and water. Just like a beautifully landscaped yard, a healthy, loving relationship needs attention all year long. Kudos to the yardmen who knew where to plant the bulbs and shape the bushes!