Monthly Archives

July 2021

Are you nice to your mailman?

By | Pruning | No Comments

Clear path

During a visit to my buddy’s place yesterday, I made a slightly shocking discovery. As we stood in front of his house, I pointed out a small gap in his front bed. And my buddy didn’t skip a beat. Oh, yeah, he prunes his shrubs every year to make room for his mailman. What?

Yes, it’s true, he intentionally prunes his shrubs so his mailman can shave thirty seconds off his route. That’s so nice. Perhaps next year he’ll put in a few stepping stones so the mailman doesn’t step on plants or compact the soil.

The mailman’s gap.

A better man

Clearly, my buddy is a better man. As soon as I heard gap and mailman, my mind started devising ways of blocking off the bed. Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one. I know people who are very touchy about their landscape. Sometimes you can’t even touch their garden hose; never mind sneaking through their planted beds on a daily basis. I can just imagine neighborhood Karens rising.

So, if you like your mailman, keep on pruning your shrubs for great access and consider installing a few stepping stones. Adding some perennial color might be a nice touch, assuming the mailman has time to notice them.

But what do you do if shaving thirty seconds off your mailman’s route isn’t a huge priority for you?


I think a great natural barrier that might stop a mailman would be planting Berberis. It has soft prickles that are annoying enough to make you switch course, but not serious enough to draw blood. We don’t really want the mailman knocking on our door seeking first aid.

Pyracantha, for example, has nasty prickles but the shrub wouldn’t really fit into my buddy’s gap. The smaller Berberis would.

We could also install rocks in the bed edge and plant shrubs densely just behind them to deflect the mailman from his destructive path; and to make it obvious that this isn’t a pathway.


Every day gives us a chance to learn something new. Yesterday I learned something about my buddy and about myself.

How nice are you to your mailman?

Are knee pads for softies?

By | health and safety, Reviews | No Comments

Do you need them?

I used to think foam knee pads were for softies. Or, for female gardeners of a certain age, too frail to stay on their knees for more than a few minutes. But now, as my own birthdays pile up, I’m starting to change my mind. Or am I just going soft?

Facing a full day of paver installs, I stopped by the nearest Home Depot to buy the cheapest pair of foam knee pads. In this case, they were Husky foam knee pads, the cheapest pair on the shelf at $8. That’s all I needed because I really only need them for the occasional paver install and annual planting.

The other factor was summer heat. It’s simply too hot in early July on the West Coast for me to give up my shorts. That, of course, leaves my knees exposed. I didn’t find the idea of all day paver installs on my bare knees very appetizing. So, I splurged on a cheap set of knee pads.

They work!

I must say, for a cheap $8 pair, my Husky foam knee pads worked fine. They definitely made paver install and weeding work bearable.

Allegedly they are made of durable EVA foam for extended wear but it’s too soon to comment on that. We’ll see how long they last.

The elastic straps worked fine; and the soft, laminated fabric interior does provide some comfort. Having your skin rubbing against foam would suck; the fabric makes the experience much nicer.

The knee pads come with a limited two-year warranty and you’re welcome to check out Husky’s website for details. At $8, I couldn’t really care less. I won’t be using them that much.

Changed mind

In years past, I openly made fun of landscapers wearing knee pads. They all looked soft, males and females. But, knee pads have their place in landscaping work.

One example is annual flower planting where you have to bend over planted beds all day. That can put stress on your knees.

The other, more extreme case, is paver installs where you have to bend over hard surfaces. Now, in my carpenter pants that might be OK but not in shorts. I happily spent $8 on a cheap pair of foam knee pads to prevent unnecessary suffering.

Get a pair of knee pads if you think you need them. I won’t make fun of you. Not anymore.