Just when you think you’ve made order and progress in one area, something, somewhere, is falling apart. That’s what I was thinking the other day in the garden.
The spinach is looking fine. I can’t find fault with the onions. The azalea we transplanted last year has flowers!
But look what a mess the daffodil bed is. You can hardly see the poor lilies over to the right.
Choke, choke, choke. That nasty, thick, light green stuff under and around the daffodils covered nearly all the surface area of that garden bed. As you pull it up, it sounds like it’s shaking off wicked little seeds so that next year it can begin its insidious choking all over again. Don’t even think you’ve seen the last of me!
But I will do what I can toward the goal of order and eye appeal. Unfortunately I am not obsessive about every last root and will probably pay for that (to say nothing of the seeds spewing all over with every handful), but I clawed out and removed what I could, covered the area between the bulbs with layers of newspaper…
…and covered the newspaper with a thick layer of mulch.
Phew. Order. (Here anyway.) That’ll keep those weeds at bay for a while. Notice I did not crop out of the photo some other as-yet-untouched areas of the garden. You see mint going like gangbusters in the small bed behind the daffodils and two adjacent beds with landscape fabric doing its job of keeping weeds down nicely. Way in the back is the real problem, or so I thought.
Oh boy. That’s a bigger mess. That’s the berry patch I gave to Tracy back in January. She wanted them, I didn’t, so we dug them out (no small job) and she took them away. As if it could be that easy.
So pleased was I. So happy to have checked that little task off the list. Four months ago we went from this (blue lines dramatizing the thorny mess)…
…to this. A shaft of afternoon sun highlighting (shall we venture to say celebrating?) a job well done.
See what a clean slate followed our digging and yanking effort? Oh yay. I had about three months of rest on that point.
Nine days ago, uh-oh, it looked like this.
Four days ago, it looked like this. I think we have a problem.
So much for getting the berries out of the garden. Not only do these have prickly thorns (Leave us alone! We will propagate!) they have a seriously determined rooting system. They grow up, they fall over and then the branch that fell over takes root wherever it lands! They become a jungle very quickly and the roots seem to travel like wildfire.
God bless Sandy, the most meticulous gardener who ever lived. Out those berries will come, never to return (!) if he has anything to do with it.
Yeah, so, all well and good, right? We see a mess, we frown, we take care of it, we smile. Ha!
I am not the first to see order and chaos in the world around me, not the first to deal with the continual cycle that includes both. You’ve seen the ancient Chinese symbol.
The basic idea is that every arena of life naturally includes the contrary as well as interdependent forces of good/evil, light/darkness, order/chaos. The dots keep you in check, boldly reminding you not to get too smug. They reflect the tendency, indeed the predictability, that one can emerge from the other quite unexpectedly. You can think everything is a mess and suddenly there is peace or beauty. Likewise you can think you’ve mopped up a situation effectively and then all hell breaks loose.
Or something like that. We had a bit of a windstorm about midday on Friday. Guests were arriving around 4pm, so I was walking around picking up branches that had fallen. There were a lot, but branches fall because they are dead or have weak connections to the tree and they make good kindling. I stack them near the new firepit (blue arrow) so anyone staying at the cottage will have something to start campfires with.
Guests came, lovely people, and onward we go. Saturday was a good day to plant the beets and squash. Oh, right, and some of those branches that had fallen in the windstorm were too big for me to carry by myself so when Sandy came over I asked him to help me move them.
Suddenly he was looking past me toward the woods, toward that tree next to the bit of kindling, and just said, “Uhhhhh….”
Remember that philosophical question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, I’m here to say No one heard it. The wind was high that day. I was busy inside my house with windows closed.
What Sandy saw was not a tree, but a mighty big branch. It’s kinda hard to see how big in this picture, what with the leaves of the branch mixing all up with the leaves in the forest.
Maybe the photo below gives you a better idea as to the size of this particular branch. So let’s start with a comparison to me. I walked around to the part in shadow where the split part meets the unsplit part (red arrow). I can get my two arms, hugging the branch, a little more than halfway it.
Then I got a coffee cup from the cottage, placed it on top of the branch for perspective and took a picture from below.
Do you see the cup? Welcome to my world.
We looked at the tree (at the remainder of the tree) and wonder what to do next. It would take a crane to get the rest of it down; maybe that’s next. And here I thought I was just mulching the daffodil bed, planting beets and squash, being grateful for Sandy’s willingness to dig out berry roots, gathering up fallen branches…
When I said to myself the other day “Just when you think you’ve made order and progress in one area, another is falling apart,” I didn’t think the tree would be literally falling apart!
Unboring, remember? It may be challenging, but it sure is unboring!