Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reality Bites

My garden is flickering with life.  

Plump mourning doves, normally docile, have been dive-bombing both the competition and their ladyloves: flirting, flying, and fighting.  

Asparagus spears are poking their pointy heads up through the earth and fresh lilac blooms are exploding like fragrant purple popcorn.  

And just off my porch, Dicentra’s delicate branches arch with single-file lines of rosy hearts.

Dicentra spectabilis

Creeping Charlie's attempt at seducing this gardener....it won't work.

And the grass needs a good mow. 

Reality is never far removed from the magic in my garden.

Creeping Charlie was one of the first plants to emerge here this spring.  The weedy DNA pumping through his roots gave him a jump-start on mischief making.  He was immediately up to his old tricks, trying to gain square footage on the law-abiding citizens of my garden before they could shake off their wintry slumber.  The only thing that lies between prized perennials and a weedy eviction notice is the sharp edge of my trusty soil knife.  If there were a legal system in the garden, Charlie’s criminal record would be a mile long.  He would, no doubt, be serving a life sentence in a maximum-security prison.  Too bad it’s only the dream of a deluded and desperate gardener. 

Charlie visiting Centranthus...this is no social call.
Charlie dividing the Daylilies

 If it weren’t, I’d also press charges against the Snow-on-the-Mountain currently infiltrating my lawn.  Unfortunately, I’d most likely be named as a co-conspirator on that charge.  After all, it was I who stupidly introduced it to the landscape.  Weary of pulling weeds beneath the serviceberry, I thought Snow-on-the-Mountain would solve the problem.  It did.  The dandelions and crabgrass couldn’t compete with its dense foliage and underground stems.  Now, having subdued that competition, it’s heading out to conquer the grassy ocean of Kentucky Blue.  At this rate, it will meet Creeping Charlie halfway across my forlorn yard by August and we’ll have a showdown of nuclear proportions. 

Another drop of reality rests beneath our catalpa tree.  Last year, I was determined to infuse more early spring appeal into our scenery.  The ideal place to bury bulbs was beneath catalpa’s limbs: it’s right outside our picture window.  It is a wise idea to consider window views when planning your landscape:  

If you can enjoy the site from within 
as well as from out, 
you’ve doubled your pleasure.  

However, it’s also good to consider the local wildlife.  I failed to remember how my dog loves to stomp through there, and the rabbits love to congregate there, and the birds prefer to peck there.  The tattered remnants of tulip leaves and grape hyacinth is all I have to show for my horticultural determination.  Sheesh. 

Not what I had in mind for spring color.

I'd like to thank all the little cottontails that made
this picture possible.

I have managed to overachieve in one Springly accomplishment: bug bites.  I have three already.  Seems a bit premature, but a morsel as tempting as my knee couldn’t be ignored for long.  Some lucky buzzer managed to squeeze an appetizer, entrée and dessert out of my leg.  I haven’t seen so much as one mosquito, but clearly, they have seen me. 

The gnats discovered me long before the mosquitoes did.  On the first glorious afternoon of 60 degree weather, I stepped out of the house and *THWACK*.  Bug in the eye.  Not fifteen feet from my front door before the reality of spring hit me smack dab in the cornea.  When they’re not getting plastered to my eye, those feather-weight fliers are being sucked into my nose.  I feel bad for the both of us.  Certainly I bemoan my circumstance more: their misery is over long before mine (so what if their misfortune has some permanent ramifications).  But truly, there are no winners here.  At least the mosquito got a meal out of the deal.        


Lisa Maynard said...

Oh Molly! What timing you have!!! I was just about ready to ask you what I should do: "It wasn't 'MINT' to be a Weed" was the decided title for my questioning. Any suggestions on how to contain Mint? Currently my husband and I decided that maybe we would get some plexi glass and stick it down in the ground on 4 sides of the nice established mint....would this even work?

PS - after the mint taking over and frustrations rising...I, of course, HAD to buy the CHOCOLATE MINT plant at Hornbakers....envisioning sipping some chocolate mint tea without the calories :) I think when this stuff gets planted, I will plant it with a plan....or at least some boundaries. Do above ground build-ups with cement work? Or do you lose the plants with the winter? CURIOUS! :) Wanted to pick your brain!!!

Casa Mariposa said...

I have creeping charlie, too, but he doesn't seem as thuggish to me. Instead I have a zillion tree seedlings that pop up every spring and are a pain to pull. I need a garden that only grows what I want it to grow. :o)

Design to Grow said...

Oh Lisa, I LOOOOVE your title! Thanks for the smile. :) Maybe you should start blogging! Regarding the mint enclosures, I think the plexiglass could work with two cautions: 1. It is clear and prone to breakage (i.e. sharp edges). I would think carefully about where it is being put and whether a misplaced hand or foot might find their way to its edge. 2. If there are spaces where the mint could wiggle out, it probably will. It's a turkey that way.

I would recommend knocking the bottom out of a planter and sinking it in the earth to contain the mint. If you want to do it above ground, you could try that...mint is exceptionally hardy, but our winters can be exceptionally cold...there is risk involved. You could bring the planter into your garage or house for the winter, or just sink it below grade, with the bottom cut out.

Let me know how that chocolate mint tea tastes!

Design to Grow said...

What type of seedlings are they?

Lyn said...

Oh dear, I do sympathise. There's always something, isn't there? And it's easier to focus on the problems in our gardens than the positives (at least it is for me). Maybe we should make up a new saying just for gardeners - to replace the glass half full or half empty one. How about "the garden is half weedy" and "the garden is half weeded"?

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