Zen and the Art of Plant Management

Since a lot of the drama of the last few weeks have passed (incoming relatives, graduation party, super-secret internet party, a band of Mexican landscapers digging up my yard, daughter off on her vacation), I thought I would spend a couple of hours today weeding my garden.

All it takes is three weeks of rain and three weeks of neglect and the weeds get the word and take over the plot.

I’m sorely out of shape, or I’d still be out there. As it is, I managed to eradicate the thigh-high ones. I also lifted the netting veil from the area that is my grape vines and strawberry bed. The grapes had gone hog-wild and the strawberries, now finished with fruit bearing, have decided to make a move and spread out into the rest of the garden.

Naughty, naughty strawberries! Bad grapes!

As I lifted the netting, I found berries and vines entangled in the net. At first, I was gentle, and tried to extricate my plants with minimal damage. That proved to be an exercise of futility. I went back to the garage and rummaged around. Armed with a sharp tool, I returned and started hacking away. Well, not really hacking. I know how to prune a grape vine, and mid-July is not the time to do it.

My grapes are pre-teen grapes (when I had purchased them three years ago they were little more than scraggly sticks with a little bit of root). Now, just as my son was at the same age, they are taller than me, but unruly.

The strawberries are like toddlers. They want to go toward other areas of the garden, places that they shouldn’t be. They don’t seem to want to repopulate their own space, which has plenty of open ground. I gingerly placed the little shoots back where they should be.

My cucumbers, which are now taking over the garden, managed to become snared in the netting. Take my word for it, that was a long way to travel, people. Yesterday, I picked six or so, and today I picked six more. My husband took off just now on his motorcycle with a box of them to give to our employees in Funkytown. That still leaves six, with more on the way.

I now wish I had a deal with Kroger to sell cucumbers. I’m fairly sure I could keep them in cukes for the rest of the summer.

On the far end of the vegetable garden, I found some creeping Charley had taken over a rose bush. (I planted roses next to the grapes. Someone in Napa told me that it’s the thing to do.) It was rather interesting trying to yank that mess out of the ground and not get hurt. I followed the vines around to the other side of our fence, where there is an alley. Well, I intended to follow it around. First I had to machete through the wild grape vine that had grown over the gate.

I was thinking “What the hell?” I mean, I had trimmed that thing down at the beginning of the summer. It grew back twice as thick. Again, I took out my trusty cutter and hacked it back so I could exit the yard. On the other side of the fence, I saw that the errant grape had started growing into the alleyway. (I wish the thing had berries. It doesn’t though.)

If you’ve ever cut through thick underbrush with only a small cutter, you know that you have to pick and choose what you do and when.

By this time, it was only 10 o’clock and I had only made a small dent. I didn’t feel badly though. I felt one with the universe.

Besides, tomorrow is another day.

3 Responses

  1. There is absolutely nothing in this world so satisfying as weeding and pruning. But it certainly is hard, physical labour. I think you deserve a nice slice of carrot cake after all that…

  2. Only if she has a “carrot cake” bush. Or tree. Or tuber. Or however it grows.

  3. I can’t grow carrots. But I wish I had a carrot cake bush. That sounds yummy.

    Hmm… I wonder if cream cheese frosting can be grown on a bush???

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