With the heat and incredible humidity we’ve been having, I’ve basically been ignoring the garden, with the exception of watering the few starts from a friend that I put in the ground just before this most recent heat wave began. Most of them are toast, anyway, despite my best efforts. But today, today was a Good Gardening Day. Although we missed the thunderstorm with its attendant rain, the “cold” front it ushered in is here with its reduced humidity and balmy breezes. Perfect weather for weeding, although I could wish the soil were moist.
First I tackled the Birthday Garden extension. The Birthday Garden is sandwiched between the house and the driveway. What I call the extension is the part that goes beyond the end of the house, and which could also rightly be regarded as the end of the bed that fronts the house. Confused yet? Anyway, it was all quite overgrown and most of the plants had been swallowed up by weeds. My husband had helped me give this bed an overhaul. We yanked out all weeds, shoveled on the manure, and forked it all in. Then I planted two of my Seneca Hill purchases, the lychnis and the centaurea, and moved in a small daylily from the smokebush bed whose tag had disintegrated (so I don’t know its name) and which was in danger of annihilation in its former home. Although this isn’t exactly a big space, it was still looking a little empty, so I moved in the last lingering daylilies from Kathy’s Folly. Then I was going to mulch, honest I was.
That was probably three weeks ago, easy, and you know what happened in the meantime. So, today I pulled all the weed seedlings and then, yes I did, I mulched it with wood chips. The Birthday Garden is a raised bed with a low dry-stacked stone wall holding it up. I trimmed the grass in front of this wall, and the results were gratifying. So gratifying that I went on to the peony bed, which I had never actually finished weeding earlier this spring, and did some painstaking weeding there. There are self-sown corn poppies there, which my husband loves, and some peony-flowered poppies, which I love, so I had to pull out weeds from amongst the precious poppies. I read on someone’s blog this spring a rule-of-thumb for how many poppies to pull, but I can’t remember which blog or the rule. (Anonymous blogger, if you read this, please identify yourself.) I know each poppy, to do its best, must have room, but I am loathe to give them what they need. What if the poppy I’m pulling is the poppy, the next ‘Lauren’s Grape’ or the extremely double pink that I meant to save the seeds from several years back, but didn’t? (If Rand B. Lee is reading this, I got the seed from you and would love to have more of it.) I didn’t mulch this bed, partly because I got hungry and partly because I didn’t want to overwork my wrist, which has never completely healed but has gotten to the point where I only get twinges unless I overdo.
It was great working in the garden and getting to the point where something actually looked good. Around here I have little islands of “looking good” in an ocean of weeds. Call it the Archipelago of Looking Good.
Here you can see the newly mulched section with the unweeded jungle behind it. In the background to the far left the purple-leaved smokebush (Cotinus coggryia ‘Nordine Red’), which I’ve mentioned in other posts, is visible. Slightly to the right of that, and further in the background, is the Juneberry tree from which the Juneberry bed takes its name. If the photo had continued even further to your right, you would see the rest of the Birthday Garden, which borders the south side of the house. I was standing in the driveway when taking this photo.