Now is the time. The mad dash. The gardening season has officially begun.
So you know what that means. All of residential America goes through the motions of maintaining their gardens and landscapes.
In droves they arrive like flocks of sheep in the parking lots of big box stores and garden centers. Inside, shelves mesmerize with the dizzying repetition of bottles, bags, and labels. KILL, DIE, PREVENT, TREAT. They leave, armed with their weapons to ensure that the bugs, weeds, crabgrass, powdery mildew, black spot, etc. LOSE (because this is war, you know). Their cars are filled with rolls of weed barrier, 3 cubic foot bags of mulch, bales of peat moss, and other mindless methods.
Why? Because Miracle-Gro says so, because Scotts told you to, and because some ill-advised employee parrots misinformation. Spread nasty crap all over your plants and recreational areas, and then blanket bare soil with red mulch. Why? Because that's what you are supposed to do.
America: where red mulch reigns, and the smell of poison floats on a breeze.
It makes me physically ill. Really, really ill.
Let's address the red mulch first. I do not care WHO you are, WHERE you live, or WHAT you like: RED MULCH IS UNACCEPTABLE. Remember when everyone thought that the mullet was a cool hairstyle? An easy, carefree way to have it all when it comes to your hair? Yeah, some people still think that way, as is exemplified at any county fair. RED MULCH is like the mullet of landscapes: ugly, passé, and quite possibly the best way to announce to all who pass that you have HORRIBLE taste. PLEASE STOP. IT HURTS MY EYES.
Oh, yeah. I'm being blunt. There is just no other way. If I didn't garden in New York, where the soil is brown, and instead cultivated plants in Alabama, where the soil is red, then MAYBE the ubiquitous red mulch might be acceptable. I'm talking purely aesthetics here, I'm not even GOING into the function of mulches or why mulching allies your plants, soil, and resources.
RED MULCH IS NOT NICE, IT IS NOT FUN, AND IT MAKES YOUR GARDEN LOOK LIKE A GAS STATION. Do you want your garden to look like a gas station? Do you? I am sorry to say, but some of you out there just cannot be trusted to respond with a resounding 'No'.
The horticultural standards of this nation are obviously in its adolescent years. Our amazing landscapes are painfully punctuated by the acne pustules of red mulch mounds. It is disgraceful, and we can do better. YES, WE CAN. While there are so many garden faux pas to address, this is the one that needs to be fought the hardest.
So PLEASE, before you run to your local purveyor of fine garden accoutrements, and definitely before you load red cedar mulch into your vehicle, consider this equation:
RED MULCH + UGLY = YOUR HOUSE.