Jarad ruminates on garden maintenance, weeds and other day to day garden things.
When I say the word gardening, people tend to think of planting flowers or trees, pruning shrubs or something of that sort. And while that is a large part of it, an equally larger part of gardening is maintenance. Watering, weeding, pest management and other general care of flowerbeds is a lot of work, and something I didn’t necessarily realize when I began my projects (mulch, or any other weed suppressant, is my new best friend). And really, you are never fully in control of the garden. There’s no way to be, unless you have a hired staff, and then, you’re not really a gardener, are you? But, unlike flowers, one cannot cultivate control. There’s always a stray weed, a dramatic plant drooping in the heat (hydrangeas are the worst of the drama queens), or some other problem that you must troubleshoot on a daily basis.
I was outside weeding my herb bed the other day, and underneath the straw mulch I had laid down a sneaky clump of grass had been growing right under my nose. I had to use both hands to pull it out, and somehow managed to fall backwards and crack my phone. Thank you for laughing, neighbors. No, I’m not coming to your barbecue. That is to say, I seem to spend a lot of time pulling weeds. A garden is a cultivated thing and must be maintained.
They do not occur naturally, and although a natural look is fashionable now, that too requires a great deal of effort. For example, I cleared out an area that I intended to plant up with wildflowers, something that could take over and look nice but that didn’t require that much work. I planted some seeds, and promptly forgot about it the next day. It is now full of weeds, and a single, lonely cosmo that I feel very sorry for. So, I will have to clear it out once more, and try again next spring.
Speaking of weeds, I used to love the morning glory before I began gardening in earnest. I have since grown to despise it. It scrambles up every stalk, bush, or limb that it can find. It’s impossible to get rid of, and while it has somewhat pretty blooms, it makes up for that by attempting to choke my other plants. (However, in true contrarian fashion, I still planted some by the mailbox. A glutton for punishment, as they say.)
At this point, weeds are seemingly all I think about. The salvia sent up a new stalk this morning, did it? Well, yes, but there’s also a weed growing right in the middle of the plant that will prove difficult to remove. The corn is taller than me (hurray!) but there’s a clump of morning glories at the base. Can’t I just plant something and not have to worry about it? At least it gives me something to do, I suppose. Books are my first love, but really you can only read for so long, so it’s a nice balance, never mind my back’s protestations.
I often lament the fact that my neighbors’ yards are barren, grassy wastelands devoid of flowers or vegetables or even a small pot on the front porch. Good lord plant a sunflower or something people. And, once I voice my despair over these endlessly boring green lawns, I am often told that it’s too much work and effort to maintain. I sympathize, especially since in my mind every square inch must be covered in some sort of plant, but people could plant things in pots, or have a flowerbed right outside the house. Perhaps they don’t like plants, which is another matter entirely (although, I am immediately distrustful of people with no sense of humor, people who don’t like animals or those who don’t like flowers). Either way, I think it’s important for people to partake in at least a little bit of gardening, and if the maintenance proves to much too bear, I don’t know, get a cactus or something.
Jarad is the co-administrator and writer for Sacred Chickens, attends college at MTSU, loves tea and coffee, and tries to spend every spare second reading. He recently developed an interest (some might say obsession) with gardening. Jarad is an English major with a concentration in literature. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!