Finally, Spring

By: Anne Corke

Apr 24 2014

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Category: Gardening, Rants, Rural Nature

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Focal Length:100mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon PowerShot SX10 IS

I think that spring has finally sprung. Don’t hold me to that though as I’ve been fooled before. I don’t quite trust that our old-fashioned, snowy, icy, frigid winter is well and truly over. But I am hopeful. This morning when I opened the patio door to let the dogs out, I heard a brown thrasher singing his lovely repertoire for me. In the rock garden, snowdrops, crocuses and bluebells are blooming. The buds on the kiwi vine are swelling. Peonies, poppies and daylilies are peeking out of the soil, as are the ever-present dandelions! Unfortunately, in town, water levels are at record highs and many people are coping with flooding but here, on the side of our drumlin, we are dry.

But as I pause to breathe in that lovely fresh spring air, I sense there is a storm gathering on the horizon. Once more, after a long winter’s sleep, my enemies are gathering their forces. In the front garden, the bindweed is stirring. Soon it’s pernicious tendrils will be reaching out like herbaceous pythons to ensnare and strangle my tender perennials. Daily patrols must be mounted and any bindweed ripped from the garden and cast onto the stone pathway to suffer a horrid but well-deserved death in the burning rays of the sun. Unfortunately, the bits left behind happily take up the fight, willing and eager to further torment me. Do you suppose The Day of the Triffids was inspired by the author’s encounter with bindweed?

Compared to bindweed, the dandelion is a pussycat. I have long ago accepted that, living in the country, I will never have a beautiful manicured Kentucky Blue lawn. Weed seeds blowing in from the surrounding fields will be a constant challenge. Consequently I have learned to coexist relatively peacefully with the lowly dandelion. I do occasionally mount a short offensive, digging up the odd bucketful of dandelion greens. But in my heart I know that they are rather harmless plants and if so inclined, I can eat them, make wine with them, or even fashion a lovely yellow necklace from the flowers!

But why is it that grass plants that mope and fail to thrive in my lawn flourish in my gardens? Is it just easier for the little plants to root and grow in bare soil rather than pushing their way through the dandelions in the lawn. In the rock garden, I am constantly digging and pulling up grass. It’s almost as hopeless as the bindweed battle, and, because of the slope and the rocks, much more dangerous for an old arthritic fart such as myself. No doubt the neighbours have had many laughs at my expense as they watch me awkwardly clambering amongst the rocks trying to stem (no pun intended) the green tide! Every spring, I seriously consider sodding over the rock garden. Perhaps this year will be the year. But then I would have to find a home for the displaced plants. That’s the problem with perennials. Like kittens, you can’t give the damn things away! The only answer for unwanted plants if to pot them up and take them to the local horticultural society annual plant sale. Of course, that involves quite a bit of work so the rock garden will probably remain and I will continue to dig out grass, cursing under my breath.

It could be worse though. I could be fighting off the dog-strangling vine that has overtaken the field across the road. So far the asphalt seems to be a fairly effective barrier but I have encountered a few young plants in the front island bed. I must remain vigilant! But don’t worry about me. Go out and enjoy your garden. Just don’t look over your shoulder. They’re gaining on you, too!

Copyright 2014 Anne Corke

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