The next time I doubt the depth of my gardening devotion, remind me that one of the very best Mother’s Days I ever had was spending the entire afternoon pulling garlic mustard out of the Secret Garden with my younger sons. In case you aren’t familiar with it, garlic mustard is a very invasive plant that crowds out a lot of native spring ephemerals. I don’t believe it grew on the property when we moved here over 16 years ago, and then suddenly it was everywhere. Knowing the seeds persist in the soil for at least 5 years, I looked at the growing patches with increasing dismay. I finally came to my senses and realized that if I had help, it could probably all be pulled in a day–this year. Next year it would only be worse, so now was the time to start.
And what better day to ask for help than Mother’s Day. It was perfect weather for pulling weeds. The soil was moist, the air cool but not chilly, the sky cloudy but not threatening rain, no bugs–and someone else was cooking dinner! We pulled and pulled and pulled, and bagged what we pulled, because I was afraid that garlic mustard could go to seed even after being pulled. I plan on letting the plants bake in the dark plastic bags, and when I’m sure it’s rotted without having seeded, only then will I add it to the compost pile, if I ever do. I might toss it all on burn pile instead.Four more years of pulling . . . I think I’ve just started a new family tradition for Mother’s Day.