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Feb 19, 2016

“Mum, what are all those scratches on your arms?” my daughter asked me with a look of fright. I laughed and told her that I had got into a fight with a bush. She frowned and looked at me with questioning eyes. “I transplanted a giant bush from Barbara’s garden into ours. It was a struggle, and I had forgotten to put on my long sleeve top(1), so my arms got scratched,” I explained. It had been quite a battle. Barbara moved a year ago into her home, and has been wanting to get rid of some of the plants since then(2). The very early Spring is, of course, the best time to transplant, just before the growing season. In the winter it would have been impossible to dig up the plants because the ground is frozen at least a few inches deep. Now that most of the snow in town has melted, the ground is much softer, so people like me can start working again in their gardens. My body is still aching a little from the effort! The bush was about five feet tall, round, and prickly. It was also right next to a wall, so it was very difficult to squeeze myself in between the bush and the wall. I used a super steel shovel which is made out of one piece of metal. It is moulded that way so it doesn’t have any weak spots. After clearing away the stones and cutting the landscaping plastic, I started digging. Because the bush was so big, I could be quite rough with it. It’s root ball was very large, so I know that it had a lot of stored energy in it. When plants are very strong like that, you can actually cut a lot of the roots, and it will still transplant well. Quite magically, now that the days are longer, the sun will stimulate the growth hormone in the plant, and it’s roots will recover. So I dug and dug, and hacked and hacked some more(3). It was like a war, a battle of wills between the bush and myself. Then, when I had cut through enough roots, as tar as I could see, I sat down on the ground with my hands behind me, and pushed the thick stem with both of my feet. I did this all around the plant until, “Crack!” What a beautiful sound, the bush was finally free from the ground. But that wasn’t the end of it. How was I going to get it into my truck? It was so heavy; I couldn’t possibly carry it. I had a solution to that problem. I had brought a plastic tarp with me which I laid out next to the bush. I pushed and pulled and rolled the plant onto the tarp, and then dragged the tarp with the plant on it, to the truck. I counted to three, took a large breath, and lifted the bush, making sure that I used my knees and not my back. What a strong woman! I hope my efforts were worth it. I will find out in about a month when buds start to form and flowers slowly appear.

1. ‘Top’ is often used in the place of t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt, and even shirt.
a. I like your new top, where did you get it?
b. She wore a sleeveless top with a long skirt to the dance; it looked very elegant.
c. The boys have grown so much that their tops are all too short.
2. ‘Barbara ….has been wanting to get rid of some of the plants since then.’ This present continuous was used in the podcast because Barbara has mentioned several times during this year that she wants to get rid of the plants. It shows a long-term desire.
a. We have been wanting to join a gym for two years, but we haven’t had an opportunity yet.
b. Since the flood in their house, they have been wanting to move to a different house, but they haven’t found one yet.
c. He might get a job in the college. He has been hoping for two months to hear from them, but they haven’t made their decision yet.
3. ‘To hack’ is similar to the verb ‘to dig’ or ‘to chop’, but the action is not as accurate; it is more messy.
a. I had never chopped wood before. I hacked as much as I could, and then I gave up.
b. Oh my haircut is terrible. The lady hacked my hair at the side, just look at it!

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