When the Philadelphia Eagles played the Vikings to win a coveted spot in the Super Bowl, street posts were greased to keep fans from climbing up tall structures and causing damage or injury. Is it wrong to accommodate bad behavior instead of addressing it? Is it worth winning a battle only to lose a war, or worse, start one?
A Personal “Grease the Poles” Dilemma
Many years ago, the idea to build a living fence became reality. At the time, “gardening” wasn’t in the vocabulary, so the idea to heavily mulch both sides of a long spruce tree line seemed like the best approach to provide a nice contrast against the lawn. Thinking the neighbor on the other side would appreciate the free attractive mulch (after offering to pay for some of the trees thanks to the privacy it provided), there were no initial concerns. Then, week after week, the neighbor drove down his side of the trees with his mower’s grass outlet facing the mulch. Within a few weeks, the fresh dark brown mulch was just a layer of dead brown grass. Ick. Strike one.
Perhaps if a few flowers were planted on the opposite side it would prompt a desire to blow grass onto grass instead of grass onto beautiful flowers. Nope. Not going to happen. Instead of giving up (or blowing up), it became obvious that expensive mulch and flowers were not going to change the behavior. The adult approach would be to have a candid polite conversation. Would that do more harm than good? Would the behavior change, or would it start a silent war? It’s tough to say.
To avoid an uncomfortable situation with a questionable outcome, the answer was to plant some fast-growing (but not invasive) evergreen ground cover that wouldn’t choke the trees but would do a much better job of hiding the nasty brown grass. Problem solved.
Sometimes trying to change behavior is just a losing battle. Accommodating the behavior might be the best way to prevent a war even if it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.
©Room2GrowGarden.com, January 28, 2018