Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Garden of Eden This Is Not

My garden and I have a love hate relationship. At times we are in sync and glowing in the light and love we reflect back and forth upon the other. Other times, not so much. Tumult, rage, disgust and despair. We fight each other for time and space. We each know what’s best for the other and still we fight till the end, of day, at least. I assault it with fury- yanking at weeds and invasive flowers that seem to be attempting to overthrow or stage a coup on the less hardy cultivars. Occasionally small air raids are launched as the insects join in the counter attack. Ants seem to have the nastiest bite when you are relocating a small army that had been unwilling to surrender despite the certain defeat.

I don’t generally like to water or use chemicals. I make all efforts to let nature run its course and allow for natural cycles of precipitation to provide liquid refreshment. This year I have succumbed and watered during the driest days. I feel like a woman possessed or obsessed. I know the assorted woodland creatures will pick and choose their favorites. I have previously thought of this as a shared community in a little habitat. My little piece of the circle of life. I have been contemplating chemicals to deter the deer and night creatures from grazing so freely, but I still have time to experiment with organic, home-made concoctions. Last year I tried a bizarre mixture of milk, eggs, salt, cayenne pepper and dish soap- it seemed to help.

I try my best to choose the right mix of perennials. Slowly adding pricey contenders. About ten years back I read a gardening book that suggested, no, aggressively stated brazen contempt for annuals. (The author must have lost a battle with her own garden.) She ranted and raved about the tawdry colors. She regarded them with disdain. Disturbed by their neon like garishness, she certainly convinced me for quite some time that they were pretty close to evil. Fortunately, I was delighted with the results when I decided to purchase a couple of flats to bring color into my garden for a graduation party a few years back, while awaiting the inflexibility of my honored perennials. I now enjoy experimenting with varieties of annuals to enhance and complement my garden as the perennials remind me who’s boss. I think of it this way; a few temporary “employees” have enhanced many a company, a few temporary annuals are doing wonders in my garden.

From the earliest signs of spring I start to live and breathe for this garden. I plot and plan. I pore over books and try to learn the names and functions of plants and flowers. I start to clean up last years stray leaves and overturn the soil. I buy seeds, next a few perennials, annuals, a new tool to replace a damaged or worn one. I await the growth, and attempt to name some from their shoots. I am admittedly not very good at this. A few get yanked as weeds, a few weeds reach maturity only to get yanked later.

This garden is therapy, stressor, distraction, and bane. I love it. At least when I’m not hating it. By July- I give in and up to the heat and the work and start to entertain the other delights of summer, like hiking the rest of the Adirondack High Peaks- 3 down, 43 to go.....

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