This fall has proven a hectic time in our lives and our garden. But oh, what a difference some loving care makes.
It was no-kidding-disgraceful. The jasmine around our Mary arbor had gone wild, obscuring the statue. My husband cut it almost down to the quick.
Our roses, crowded by self-seeded sages (say that ten times fast) that had grown all out of proportion, are celebrating now. We pulled those impertinent plants out by their roots! Yes, they are beautiful, native, and beneficial to wildlife. But they don’t have to be allowed to take over. Now, other plants can breathe. I also have room to plant pretty, cool weather annuals.
Speaking of planting, our cleared and ant-free, raised vegetable boxes still await sowing. We should receive seed packets in the mail any day now. It’s been a few weeks since we cleaned out the one disastrous box and so far only a few nutsedge have returned.
I don’t doubt that the worst offenders – Bermuda grass, nutsedge, fire ants, are lurking below the surface and beyond. But I’m hoping that with vigilance and a healthy crop of lettuces or greens, we can keep the weeds to a minimum. In any case, the weather is nice, the bugs are less, and I'm looking forward to some lovely months of gardening.
I plot and I plan. I work under dangerous conditions. I am frequently under assault. At times, I might drop everything and run for cover. I strive to work towards the greater good.
Gardening in southeast Texas can be brutal. Heat, humidity, and potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes are problems for more than half the year and a dangerous combination in summer. That’s to say nothing of fire ants and other biting, stinging insects. Snakes, too, although they only make a rare appearance in my little garden. Poison ivy and oak are common and birds sow both generously.
Despite some uncomfortable conditions, I feel very protective of the wild in my garden. It’s important to know friend from foe, for example, venomous from nonvenomous snakes. Even then, it’s often not necessary to engage.
As for the bugs, it is not fine with us to hurt the good with the bad. Pesticides are banned. So are herbicides. Our beds, whether food or ornamental, are organic. And while our garden isn’t entirely native, we do have plenty of native plants that please the local wildlife as well as ourselves.
While every garden is different, they all offer challenges, pleasures, time with nature. Much like people, they have their good days and bad days, high seasons and low; and they can all be fun and beautiful if you love them enough.