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I kill everything. Everything with leaves, anyway. We have lived in our house for almost two years; our big plans for landscaping have stalled, and the most exciting thing that has happened to the yard is its biweekly mowing.

I have inherited some wonderful traits from my mother; her creativity, her prowess in the kitchen and the agility to win the Passive-Agressive Olympics. (Last year I took home the bronze.) One thing I did not inherit is her green thumb. She can rattle off fourty different plants that would thrive in a particular shady spot in my front lawn and almost passed out when she discovered the perfect piece of flagstone in my backyard. She can grow plumeria in Chicago for peet moss’ sake. She is a horticultural genius, my mother.

To the surprise of no one but me, she completly worked a 180 on my front yard with nothing more than a trowel, a pair of hanging ferns and three bags of cypress mulch in under two hours. She went a-transplanting this and that, and now my front yard looks like someone actually lives here. I wish I would have taken a before shot so y’all could have seen just how dire the situation was.

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Then she planted an herb garden in a naked patch of earth. She also came baring gifts; one of which was a very patriotic whirligig from my great grandmother. It’s delightfully tacky, no? Every yard needs a little “flair,” after all.

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I love it when my mom comes to visit. We dine in Ohio’s fanciest establishments (Red Lobster – holla!!), gossip about the neighbors and I watch in amazement as she works her magic with leaves and roots. She is the kick in the ass that I need to get my yard closer to par.

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Then she and my stepdad leave. And we all are a little sad. Especially my new basil plant. Because now its days are so numbered.

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