No, not in terms of keeping up with the neighbors. Frankly, gardens and yards around here are tiny, and, given the direction our townhouse faces, not all that conducive to growing, well, anything. Think full shade, poor soil, bad drainage.
I did win a battle against aphids earlier this season. Insecticidal soap, every day, for three days running. Aphids are nasty little critters, and their life cycle is such that you need to take your countermeasures for three days in a row to get them all. Otherwise, they just come back. So, I’ve won that battle at the rose bush for now. The other rose battle is to get the thing to bloom. I made some banana peel tea (put a banana peel in a bucket of water and let it steep for a day) to use as potassium-rich fertilizer in the hopes it will encourage blooms. Unfortunately, I think it’s more a sun issue than a fertilizer issue.
The other garden war, in which I’m not faring so well, is against the poison ivy. That seems to be one thing my neighbors can grow quite well, and it creeps under and through the fence. Our eldest daughter, Yakum (yes, a pseudonym for her…it means “first”), is pretty sensitive to the stuff. In fact, she’s in the middle of an outbreak of rash right now, poor thing. I, on the other hand, seem to be in the approximately 20 percent of the population that doesn’t react to the urushiol in the plant. So, I get to pull the leaves that sneak through and uproot any vines that creep under. I’ve been doing it once a month, but apparently I need to go to a bi-weekly schedule.