Some things in the garden have been easy and take no effort. Peonies, poppies and primrose.
Other things have been difficult. First of all, the garden season opens around here at the busiest time of the teaching semester, late March through early May. Just when the garden begins to yawn and sit up, blinking at the sun, my grading load is at its heaviest, and student needs are intense.
Good intentions aside, I’m behind in my garden, further behind than I am in my blogging. Let me explain:
For the past two years, crazy health issues have forced me to let my garden fend for itself. This year, I have to face the results. Ignoring it hasn’t changed the picture; squinting at it hasn’t changed the picture; eating ice cream hasn’t changed the picture. There’s nothing for it but to stand up and stare down the nightmare that my garden has become.
Trees — redbud, sweet gum, shingle oak, black cherry, honey locust, and things-I-can’t-even-name — have grown in my yard well beyond the cute seedling stage into deeply rooted saplings. Elderberry shoots have inundated my woodland perennial bed. Will I be able to re-establish it as anything other than a tangle of untidy shrubbery? Which rodent-demon from the underworld ringed my fig trees and killed them dead? Who gave that honeysuckle vine, thick as my wrist, permission to snake its wicked way up one of my holly trees, completely shading out the leaves on one side? The poor thing looks like a half-shaved cat, its dignity utterly violated.
Shall I continue? Asparagus beetles: so much for my asparagus bed. Variegated ivy and vinca crawling through my woodland restoration: from WHERE, I ask you? Purple coneflower, ironweed and liatris: demoted to second class citizens by the tornadic tyranny of False Aster, Prairie Boneset, and Canada Goldenrod. Picture me facing down Mother Nature armed with only a garden trowel and a pair of clippers!
That’s enough whining for now (thank you for listening). The point is that I have spent more than a few moments in my garden in tears.
But there’s no reason for sour-puss. I’m pain free. I am pain free and gardening again! And look at what there is to see if you bend over — as I can now — and peek under the leaves:
The rescued trillium patch I tried to establish two years ago somehow or other got up the gumption to live, and to even bloom for me.
The crested iris bulbs I had to re-plant half a dozen times because industrious squirrels couldn’t believe that they aren’t edible, finally gave me flowers this year!
And see my bottlebrush buckeye? It produced several seedlings I was able to transplant; and several of its lower branches stooled. A couple of days of digging (again, pain free!) and I was able to transplant half a dozen new shrubs elsewhere. Can anything be better than *free* shrubs?
Well, now it looks like this:
The native shade meadow gifted to me by an anonymous blog follower is now three years old, and coming into its own.
And guess what? Me and my roller derby team (go Arch Rival Roller Derby!) got together and planted two perennial sun beds and two perennial shade beds for a local women’s shelter! If there is anything better than gardening by yourself, it is gardening with a bunch of friends. And if there is anything better than gardening with a bunch of friends, it is gardening with a bunch of friends for a good cause!
If my blog posts have been slow in coming, it is because my life is — once again — rich in gardening. Now that the spring semester is over, I expect to be in touch more often. Be well, friends!