I bet you think that my prolonged absence from this blog is because I’ve been too busy gardening. Wrong. I wish it were true, but what has really kept me away from here, and the garden, is a housekeeping project of Immense Proportions, as Winnie-the-Pooh might say. I originally thought it would take me a week, which sounded plenty long enough at the time, but it wound up taking me eight weeks, with breaks for dental appointments, birthday celebrations, and other events that could or would not wait. I came to think of it as the Project from Purgatory–not as bad as hell, but almost as long. And anytime someone would burst in the house exclaiming, “It’s gorgeous out there!” well, waves of martyrdom would wash over me.
But really, it was poetic justice. I mean, how many times had I let housekeeping slide because the garden beckoned? Just my luck payback time came at the height of the spring rush. What I just finished working on was the first part of a multi-part project, which will culminate in much moving of furniture and the youngest moving in with her big sisters. The work was long overdue, and I didn’t want to be the one holding it up.
So I was out in the garden today walking around with a clipboard, evaluating the disaster and making a list of things to be done. This is something I’ve never seen discussed in a gardening book or magazine: how to recover from a bad case of garden neglect. How do you set priorities? What do you tackle first? One’s first instinct is to proceed to the nearest bed and start ripping out weeds like mad.
But is this wise? There are daffodils and colchicums that I want to move elsewhere, and the best time to move them is now, when the foliage is fully ripened (that means yellow, in garden-speak) but hasn’t yet disappeared. Despite the fact that there are some weeds out there as tall as I am (a bit over 5 feet), it seems to me that moving the bulbs must take priority. And those five potbound perennials I bought last weekend at 40% off (more on that later)–shouldn’t I pot them on before weeding the beds they will eventually go in? Because, optimistically speaking, it’s going to take the whole season to get things back in shape. I was already behind before I got even further behind, and sometimes I wonder: Can This Garden Be Saved? Stay tuned.