Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Sweet Columbine

"Some plants become weeds simply by virtue of their success rather than any other factor. 
You merely want less of them. " -Monty Don

This bouquet won the Most Riotous award. 

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I bought three purple Columbines and planted them in my garden.

There, I thought. What beautiful flowers. Someday they will fill in and make my yard look like a proper alpine meadow.


That's ironic.

And this one wins Most Delicate. It's my favoirite.

Probably three or four years went by before I realized my predicament.

Columbine flowers happily reseed themselves. Which mean my original three quickly expanded to a dozen, and then fifty, and by the third year, into the hundreds.

And these new plants did not just settle in around their mother's skirts. No, no - they blew far and wide across my yard, popping up their purple heads up in every corner.

These flowers had not yet bloomed when I harvested them. 

Which, you know, is not really the worst thing in the world. Lots of plants reseed themselves - foxglove roam even more freely around my gardens - but what makes the Columbine truly notorious is the fearsome power of its root system. Even the tenderest little sprout can dig in its heels and cling to the soil with incredible tenacity and strength.

Which means, in short, Columbines are the very devil to remove.

And for every tiny fragile baby that I don't get in one season, I have a dozen more to pry loose by the next year.

They are a bit smaller than the others, more delicate in shape and in color. 

Over the decades, I have plucked and pinched and prodded those innocent-looking leaves till my fingers ache, only to find that my Columbine situation really does grow worse every year.

That vision of my yard turning into an alpine meadow was no joke, people. These suckers are trying to take over.

As much as I've come to gnash my teeth at the Columbine in my garden, 
I simply adore them in vases around my house. 

So it was with a heavy heart this past week that I observed the annual bloom of my Columbine invasion. And just as I felt the usual fever hit me - the mad desire to run through my front yard with a blow torch and show every one of those invasive purple monsters who's boss - I suddenly had a different idea.

Rather than destroy them, why not love my unruly usurpers into submission?

With a new thrum of happiness in my heart, I grabbed my trusty Fiskars and cheerily trimmed off every stem of Columbine blooms in sight. I swept the entire armload into the house and filled vases with their charming stems and delicate bells.

Now these flowers can do me no harm. By trimming them off and bringing them inside, I have rendered their Columbine reseeding super power inert. None of them will produce seeds to fall to the fertile soil, and none of them will ever contribute to the population explosion that has tormented me for all these years.

Both my garden and I are breathing a blissful sigh of relief. And now, much to my surprise, I find my Columbine to be rather sweet. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!