Gardens are a lot like children - if you leave them untended for any length of time, they will most certainly run amok. And that is what mine have been doing for the last six months.
My gardens, that is. My children have been running amok for years.
Heh. Just kidding. Sort of.
All winter long, I've been turning a blind eye to what's been going on out there. But today I forced myself to look, and trust me, it was not a pretty sight. Last year's perennial stems were flopping here and there, the rose bushes were full of dead canes and uncontrolled growth, brown leaves from the neighbor's beautiful maple tree lurked in every nook and cranny.
And the weeds. Holy mother of pearl, you would think those little devils would slow down a bit in the cold, dark months of winter. But I honestly think the harsh conditions only stir up their determination to go forth and multiply with shocking success.
Today was the day that I determined to bring some righteous vengeance to this unholy mess. Choosing to start with the worst mess first, I charged in to my herb garden with every tool in my arsenal and did my best to quell the rebellion. Here are some before and afters of the battlefield.
From this angle, up against the gate that leads to the back yard, feast your eyes on the horror of that little bed to the left. A cascade of ugly brown clematis vines spills onto a mass riot of weeds. In the 'after' shot, they are gone and gone. Also gone are two of the slats on my bench seat; notice that one went AWOL last fall, leaving a gap in the 'before' shot. Upon further investigation today, a second board was determined to be failing, so out he came, creating the second gap. But fear not, one quick trip to Home Depot secured replacements and the repairs will soon be completed.
Not bad for a few hours' work. I've cleared away most of the debris, but eventually, more leaves will blow in and the weeds will keep growing. That's just a part of life for a garden. For now, the healthy plants have everything they need to thrive; they don't need any more help from me to grow and blossom as nature has created them to do. And while I don't always love the hard work, I am always rewarded when I see little bits of blooms popping out from under the leaves and among the brown leaves.
In these ways, gardens are again a lot like children. If we parents can occasionally help to clear the debris of bad habits and needless distractions from their lives, giving them healthy conditions they need to grow, our children will thrive and blossom into the people they are meant to be. And we will be rewarded for our efforts because along their winding path to adulthood, they will give us lots of lovely surprises, which again, is just like a garden.