Friday, July 18, 2014

Channeling the dead, garden edition

Going around the garden, it is my eyes which see the volunteer bluebells, but it is my friend J's mother (a woman I never met) who chimes in that "those damned bluebells" ought to be pulled out, for what kind of gardener allows a volunteer such pride of place? Several years ago, J told me this about her mother when I was admiring my bluebells.  Ever since, for the several weeks a year between blooming and deadheading, every time I see a bluebell, J's mother and I argue whether her approach can possibly be correct.

Harold Nicholson--the male half of the Sissinghurst Castle team--said that the famous garden was "made by doing impractical things we could not afford at the wrong time of year." Harold and I get a good chuckle out of that as we walk around my garden in spring together, looking at all of last year's projects which didn't quite make it through the winter.  Such as...that time when the nice fluffy very expensive sterile-medium top-dressing was put down just before the great tree-seed deluge.  Not to mention...the time when the fishpond water got changed just as the fry were hatching out. Impractical, expensive, mistimed? You and me both, Harold, buddy.

Stopping by my co-op the other day to do a spot of shopping, I showed Henry Mitchell the bindweed growing in the hedge outlining the driveway.  "Bindweed," said he. "Gardeners have been known to move away to avoid bindweed!"  So Henry and I went in and told the nice young person behind the counter that it would be great if the bindweed were removed from the hedge before the weed went to seed.  Had Henry been there in the flesh,  he might have impressed that young person more than I did: she looked at me as if I had two heads. Which, of course I did have: mine and Henry's.

I haven't had the heart to go back and see if the bindweed has been removed (to tell the truth, Henry and I pulled most of it before we ever went in--just the ones deep under the hedge roots kept avoiding us).  Yet the way Henry keeps fussing about the bindweed, page after page--the immortal bindweed, so discouraging to gardeners!  Henry says when I go and take a look, I should put a pair of knee pads and some gardening gloves in the car, just in case.

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