Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Garden Gleanings

If anyone saw my gardens earlier this spring you would understand my great delight in the progress we've made in reclaiming them as flower beds. I was pretty non-optimistic (I can't quite bring myself to call it pessimism...)

But after several l-o-n-g afternoons of labor I am starting to renew hope. They actually look like planned, cared for gardens. A few more afternoons and we will have things pretty well under control. And even pretty, period.

Amazing and a bit sad. I have lost several of my more delicate plants -- gone, just plain vanished. Couldn't handle the crowding, couldn't get enough water, food, and sunshine. Certain others are just barely making an appearance now that weeds and grass have been removed. One more year of neglect and they would have been choked out as well. Meanwhile the more aggressive perennials are everywhere present. So as well as digging out sod galore, I have been removing bee balm, evening primrose, spring phlox, ferns, and wild day lilies by the bushel-full. Literally. The wheel barrow has been loaded and reloaded numerous times each day.

Every time I work in the garden, the spiritual parallels are clear and enlightening. For instance, there have been times when I've dug up a wild variety of perennial from the roadside to plant with great excitement in my garden, only to regret my decision. Within two years it invades every corner, threatening to choke out the more reserved, less hardy varieties - those delicate species that need more care and special attention. Or I decide to leave just a small portion of an aggressive plant, thinking that I will be able to manage such invasive tendencies, only to find once again, that it is getting ahead of me, smothering the more rare and beautiful flowers.

Last summer my beds were taken over by grass and weeds. Removing sod and such firmly rooted invaders has not been easy. But I know this -- if I don't get the roots, I might as well plan on doing it all over again in a few weeks, maybe even days. Get it all, or it will be back again, soon. Another obvious spiritual lesson to be learned.

So the lessons go like this:
1.) Think twice about what you put in your garden. Make sure you know how it will grow and what it will demand.
2.) Think three times about what effect a certain plant will have on the truly valuable blooms. Don't let something grow, even if it is pretty, if it will bring harm or steal valuable nutrition and growth space from something more important.
3.) Think four times before you decide to just lackadaisically pull the tops off those weeds without taking the time or effort to remove the whole root system. Last time I checked, in many cases, that is a practice that actually increases the root system and encourages spreading.

Thinking things through pays off in the end. Even two, three, and four times.

Happy blooming to you all!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still in the "what else do I need" stage of my garden. It's looking good but there are some empty spots that are slowly getting filled. It will be nice to have it done. Hopefully by next year when everything grows in I'll be satisfied.

7:11 AM  

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