Amy's Landscape

Views from the Florida Landscape

St. Augustine Must Die

I’m done, finished, it’s finally and completely over between us this time.  How many years  have I foolishly wasted on him, 25, 28?  Too many to count, too painful to remember what our relationship has already cost me, on so many levels.  When I think of how I once pandered to him I want to scream in rage, I know I am more than a fool for believing all the lies. 

Vanity drove me to listen to everyone around me, instead of following my conscience, instead of doing what I knew inside my own soul was right. 

When we met I was so young.  Bahia was everyone’s lawn of choice, the friend and companion of every cow pasture, upland, lowland and mansion.  But then I married, we moved into the burb, and sultry, seductive St. Augustine moved in next door. 

In the beginning I marveled at my neighbor’s lawn from afar.  Most every morning I caught myself staring at the lush green beauty that blanketed his lawn.  At dusk, when my neighbor went in for dinner, I often found myself stepping over the line, from my yard to his, bare feet striding over and sinking into the joy that was his carpet of wonder.  

To say that my Bahia paled in comparison would be a visual as well as physical accuracy.  But St. Augustine was way out of my league, too expensive for a young newlywed girl to possess.  And so I waited.  And yes, coveted.  

When my time came, when I was in control and had the power, it was St. Augustine I longed for.  Plugs were all I could afford in our first rendezvous. But by the time our next house was on the horizon my husband was drawn in, and together we fell head over naked feet in love and in bondage to St. Augustine together. 

At first, the threesome worked well.  St. Augustine was rich and beautiful and we looked all the more elegant in the reflected glow of his lush expanse.  My husband slaved to fund our addiction and I worked the skin off my fingers trying to keep the weeds out and keep St. Augustine in the pristine condition to which he and we had grown accustomed. 

But you know how relationships change.  Soon he was no longer happy with just the simple sunshine and water we gave.  He suggested we would all be so much happier if he were fertilized more often.  But that wasn’t enough, next he felt a bit ill and said it was Chinch Bug Killer he required.  Then it was mole crickets he complained of.  On and on it went, our retched inadequacy, his constant insatiable desire for more, more, always more.

In the rainy season he began to brown and though I fertilized and bug killed with abandon, he now said the issue separating us was fungus;  if only I would treat his fungus, we could all be happy again. 

Soon he was bleeding us dry with his constant wilting or withering, complaining it was too sunny, too hot, too dry, too wet.  Nothing we ever did was enough to keep him happy.  He was weak, lazy, not even capable of fighting off the smallest insect or the most pathetic weed.  Before we knew it, my husband and I were deeply in debt, owing hundreds of dollars on our Home Depot credit card as I spent larger and larger sums just trying to keep St. Augustine in balance, happy, content so he wouldn’t make us the laughing-stock of the neighborhood.

Our pathetic dance came to a crashing end when the hurricanes of 2004 dealt one drenching blow after another, from which St. Augustine could not recover.  By then I was tired, oh so weary of the never-ending battle, never being able to please him.  I could no longer stand the constant feelings of inadequacy, and my husband was no longer willing to continually fund our little tryst. 

St. Augustine began to falter, and we could not muster the energy to save him, nor to care.  In retaliation he browned from the chinch bugs.  He spotted from the fungus.  He shriveled in the damp and he wilted in the heat.  But we were over it.  Our eyes were finally opened, the spell had broken.

When I think of all the years we damaged the environment with the run off from fertilizer, bug killer and weed killer, just so we could entertain a lush expanse, I feel sick and ashamed.  All the perfectly drinkable water we wasted just to feed St. Augustine’s insatiable thirst, while the whole state went to water restrictions just so our lawns could be pretty.  What an idiot I was, all the money I wasted, all for vanity. 

I want others to know what I know now, to understand, to awaken, to break the power this insatiable gigolo  has on them.  I want to take my John Deere 790 diesel tractor’s loader bucket and scrape every blade from every lawn as far as my eyes can see.  And I’ll have my revenge, for hell hath no fury like a woman gardener scorned.  Once again, we’re building a house.  Already, my old friend Bahia has forgiven me, has offered his hand, his steady, dependable blade to stave off erosion and make my world green again.  Yes, in drought, he will go dormant, but only to flourish again when the rains return.  In heat, he will draw in on himself, only to unfold in green glory when the rain falls anew. 

He hasn’t the glamour or lux, with which  St. Augustine once drew me to himself.  But Bahia will always be there, come rain or shine, heat or cold, hurricane or drought.  He will love and live with the environment in harmony, never requesting extra water or fertilizer or bug killer or weed killer, but happy to be, just be. 

And so, St. Augustine must die.  Here in my current house, I am scraping off what is left of my pathetic lover, and sodding him over with my sturdy hero, Bahia.  I can hold my head up high, knowing I’m doing my little part to conserve precious water supplies, keep erosion at bay, and help return Florida waters to their once pristine condition, the way they were, before we all lost our heads to that pretty-boy who cost us so dearly. 

I won’t miss his water wasting ways, his insatiable hunger for pesticides and fertilizers.  But I sure will enjoy my cleaner lake water and my extra hundreds…and a zero balance on my Home Depot Credit Card.

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September 22, 2010 Posted by | Environment, Florida Outdoors, Gardening, Landscaping, Nature | , , , , | 2 Comments