It was an almost warm, dry winter. It is now a cold, wet spring. As I type this, on April 27, it is raining and 38 degrees. Adding to the general specialness of the day, there is a hard northeast wind blowing.
The garden flowers may be hesitating until it gets a little warmer, but the weeds are out and about. Over the past few weeks, I have spent a lot of time attempting to get these prolific, shameless intruders under control. When one is on one’s knees in the dirt, one has a lot of time for thoughts and these are mine.
Don’t let the words “on one’s knees” deter you. These are not spiritual thoughts.
- Why do weeds move into any old place and thrive with abandon while the plants I want are shy about establishing themselves, even though I have the welcome mat out and a hospitality basket on their doorstep?
- Why is something with the useful name of “garlic mustard” so completely worthless and more prolific than the backyard rabbits? The deer don’t touch it, nor does anything else, except apparently me and the long handled weeder. The useless deer also don’t touch the creeping Charlie, which engulfs everything in its path. They are too busy eating the lilies and sedum.
- How do weeds get so cunning that they know their best protection is taking hostages by entwining their roots and leaves with desirable plants? It is very sneaky and annoying. Sometimes the de-entwining results in accidentally yanking out the good plants and I can just hear the weeds gloating “I told you to put down the weeder and back away.”
- Why, if it’s true that weeds are only plants in the wrong place, don’t they stay in their right place? Why are they so insistent on crashing where they are not wanted? Aren’t they embarrassed by their obvious thuggery? What is their rightful place? Does garlic mustard even have a rightful place? Should I be sorry for it? Answer: no.
- In the past weeding has easily gotten beyond me because, ignoring for the moment, my tendency for sloth, it’s been hard to weed with The Moose about. He sees me yanking plants and thinks everything is fair game. He finds the foxgloves or daffodils or zinnias especially easy to grab. He thinks the long handled weeder is the best toy ever and wants it all to himself.
- The Moose is working from home these days, so possession of the weeder is not a current problem.
- What is a problem is getting up and down and up and down and bending over. Why isn’t all this exercise producing a beach body? Why is the end result merely stiff knees and an aching back? What is wrong with this world?
- Why do I, after a session with the weeds, come out looking as if I have been dragged (drug?) by the hair through a mudhole backwards? It doesn’t seem to matter how careful I am or how daintily I pull the weeds. I end up covered in dirt, with implacable black lines under my nails, even though I wear gloves. I am also beet red and crazy looking.
- Why do I never see anyone else looking like this?
- White capris aren’t gardening wear. Anyone you see in white capris with a plant or trowel in their hands is merely posing for Instagram.
- Why do others like St. Augustine or even Isaac Newton have inspirational thoughts and great breakthroughs in a garden? Why is my own contribution focused solely on unimproving words you can say as the taproot of a garlic mustard plant breaks during the extraction process?
- Some things are probably better explored with a confessor rather than in a blog post.
- Note to self: make sure the confessor has a garden of his own.