I’m Back

– Posted in: Uncategorized

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.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

ilona July 6, 2004, 10:18 pm

I am in this process right now – don’t get too depressed when I say I started it last year! If a garden that you want to save has gotten terribly weedy and over grown it needs…RENOVATION. You start on one mangeable section, start weeding out, but also dig up and divide all the perennials. Some of the bulbs will get sliced, but using the garden fork dig up the cleared soil. Add amendments, since all that work was done and place the newly divided and the newly purchased plants in that section. Keep it watered through the hot weather.

Then when you can face it…. start on another section.

It is lots of work. Maybe someone else knows an easier way….

Karen June 19, 2004, 9:48 pm

Do remember to tell me what works best, I will try it next year. We are having the same constant rains as last year, and the weeds are thriving.