This year, at this season, one of my morning chores is to weed the shrubbery, mostly with the wiggle hoe. I know the results are temporary, like a toddler boy all spiffied up with his hair combed and wearing a clip-on bow tie, but still it is a worthwhile effort just to see the results. The weeds are relentless and will eventually win, but their turn will come, perhaps in future years when the property becomes repurposed as a set-back strip-mall along Concord Pike.
Jean Shepherd once told the story of a man who built an electronic device in his basement that allowed him to hear the voices of plants. When he first turned it on, all he heard were screams, and he realized the guy next door was cutting his lawn. Someday, too, my over-grown weeds will scream as a guy on a ride-on grass cutter mows them down.
Once at Longwood Gardens a woman was cleaning Pierre’s library with a spiderweb duster that was a 6-inch blue ball of stiff strands on an extendable pole they got at Lowe’s. She said it worked well, and I got one, too. I agree. You’ll see nary a web in any of the corners of my ceilings or under the furniture. The basement ceiling, especially, had been covered with webs, but no more. Lowe’s lists it as a “Quickie Poly Fiber Dust Mop” for under $12 with the pole, or just the head for under $8. (Quickie is a well-known manufacturer of mops and brushes. Your supermarket may carry them.)
I have been using the same mop (brush) outdoors to sweep away webs from my shrubbery. Usually, I see a single strand wafting in the early morning breeze, but also I clear developing bag-worm nests. I have never seen an actual bag-worm during my sweepings, but I often see a moth-like insect fly off as I sweep. Perhaps I am only spreading the infestation around, but so far, the disruption seems to be working.
I once had a cable guy install a cable through my basement crawlspace. “I hope there are no spiders back there,” he said with a shiver as he started his crawl.
“Oh, there are lots of spiders,” I replied. “You’re in the wrong business.”
I never saw him again. I guess my crawlspace spider infestation was bad enough to change his career.