Guerilla Gardening

Not one step backward.

- Stalin's 1942 command to the Red Army, (order number 227)

Did you know it's illegal to booby trap your own front yard?

I checked into it, and there are several ordinances-all of which, I feel, are a little unfair.

I mean, I'm not planning on forming a militia or anything (not this week anyway, because I'm very busy), but I do have a certain healthy respect for the protection of private property.

I may be a social progressive, which is never to be confused with pacifism. That doesn't mean I'll be joining the NRA anytime soon. First, I don't think I have the right wardrobe. Second, they vastly over-interpret the Second Amendment (any person who thinks armor-piercing bullets- designed to kill cops-are a constitutional right is NOT the sharpest tool in the shed, and probably OUGHT to have their "right to bear arms" revoked right along with their "right" to use up air the rest of us could be breathing). Surely we can all agree that it's rare you'll find even the most resourceful deer wearing kevlar, simply because everybody knows they lack opposable thumbs and would never be able to get the jacket on.

All that said, I am no bleeding heart (not literally and not yet), but I have to admit that I am just about fed up with coming home to find my porch furniture rearranged; my garden clogs separated to opposite ends of the porch; and in one case, an actual stalker posted up in one of my Adirondack chairs, having cleverly "disguised" his presence by dragging assorted herbs in front of the chair he was sitting in.


He just looked like Fred Sanford that time he took two dates into the same restaurant for dinner and kept hiding behind the potted ficus trees to try to keep the two separated.

Next, I suppose this clown will be belly-crawling up my lawn with grease paint under his eyes, wearing full camouflage and a helmet adorned with sprigs of flowering crab-apple and dogwood from my front yard.

We've taken to calling him Ahab, because I seem to be his figurative white whale (yes, I said FIGURATIVE, because NO, I have NOT put on a few pounds.)

He's the reason we came up with the idea for guerrilla gardening.

As Hop Sing and I were chatting over coffee the other day, he pointed out that while some girls have summer romances, I have summer stalkers-and that if I REALLY wanted to rid myself of the latter, perhaps I should combine two of my greatest passions: gardening and munitions.

I thought this was a splendid idea.

Is it a hosta? Is it a claymore mine?

Is that a ranunculusor a well-disguised C-4 plastic explosive?

Dunno. Do you feel lucky?

Better watch your step there pal.

I took up gardening in my 30s because, apparently, it's genetic, and I have no say in the matter.

I have refused to allow it to domesticate me in any way, however.

Largely, I see it as an excuse to buy high tensile carbon steel implements and play in the dirt. My Christmas List has only one item on it this year: a Bobcat. And for my birthday, I'm registered at Lowe's.

I don't look like any of the other "women who garden" on my block, that's for sure.

They're out there on the weekends in their cute little pastel outfits. And while their style saysSmith and Hawken. Mine says...Bill Murray in Caddyshack.

I do most of my work in the middle of the night, in head-to-toe black, with the exception of my big blue Universal Precaution gloves-just in case I inadvertently dig up any old needles. Sure, I bought the house from a 76-year-old grandmother, but I live in a neighborhood that could best be described who's to say Granny DIDN't have an affinity for black tar heroin.

And all these supplies come in handy when I stumble on scenes of backyard carnage like I did last weekend-in the form of a few R.O.U.S.s (see also: Princess Bride: Rodents of Unusual Size. More specifically: possums)...or what was left of 'em. I assume they were dispatched by the dogs, because 1. Natural causes did NOT appear to be a factor in these deaths, and 2. The dogs wore these suspiciously perplexed expressions when they later sniffed every square inch of the yard, furrowing their brows pensively in a manner that was clearly intended to communicate, "Hmmmm...I am CERTAIN I left a dead marsupial here."

Maybe it says something schizophrenic about me that my two favorite stores in the world are Southern States and Prada-but at least if you spend enough time at the former, you are going to be the kinda gal who just so happens to have a shovel, a Haz-Mat mask, and a 50-pound bag of lime lying around the house. (If you spend too much time at the latter, you are just going to be poor.)

I can now actually converse with my mother-at some length-on the merits of various HGTV programming. Worse, I have developed strong opinions on the matter.

Say what you will about Martha Stewart (everybody has, and mark my words, she will come back and destroy you all), at least she raised the damn bar a little.

Don't get me started on Surprise Gardener, or 30-Minute Meals, or any of those other low-rent Martha wannabes. First, if I never hear the phrase "water feature" again, it'll be too soon. Second, here's a surprise for you: if I come home and find that somebody has created a "water feature from a simple litter box," the REAL shocker is going to be somebody getting their face slapped on national television. Martha Stewart would NEVER create a "decorative planter" out of a discarded Michelin, and she knows that no matter what you do with a dishpan, it's never gonna be a "water feature." It's a dishpan.

I want my own HGTV show now. I think I'll call it Poison Ivy. And I will dispatch all evildoers with my oversized hedgeclippers and topiaries of vengeance.