Saturday, May 05, 2007

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" That annoying sound you hear is Anne gnashing her teeth. It's a two-day weekend, amigos, and of the two days, Cinqo de Mayo looks like the best one for the Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm.

Today's weather forecast is ... well ... dead-on perfect. Sunday's -- gusty wind and a high of 60 -- sounds like it'll scare all the faeries away.

Oh well, la di dah. Toujours gai, and all that.

Are you a great gardener? Hey, so am I!

I finally learned the secret to a beautiful, verdant garden. Now, absolutely free of charge, I'm going to share it with you. It's your lucky day!

A Mennonite farmer, now passed into the arms of Jesus, once told me: "You know what a weed is? It's a plant that's growing where you don't want it to grow."

That's right. Rule that garden with an iron fist. Get a touchy little impatiens, sow it where it will parch without a daily drenching, wait until September, and it might look nice for a week or two before the frost kills it.

BAMP! Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

We now introduce to you:

LITTLE ANNIE SUNSHINE'S WEED-FREE GARDEN!

Step One: Re-define every plant in your yard so that none of them are weeds.

Whatever happens to be growing where it is growing, when it is growing, and how it is growing, is what is meant to be. It's not a weed. You like having it there.

(Sole exception, poison ivy.)

You must be thinking to yourself, wow. That woman's garden must be hideous!

We're now into Year Three of Annie Sunshine's new philosophy of gardening. And yes, the yard has been re-taken by growing things that are native to New Jersey.

Guess what, muchachas? If you let weeds grow, they bloom!

I've got two lil' old thingies out by the front door that are all green and likely-looking, except I didn't plant them. They just came up. I think they're going to be black-eyed susans. Dunno. But I want them there, they aren't weeds!

My biggest success is my poppers. This time of year they appear as a charming green ground cover. They grow to about 5 feet in height by September, at which time they provide a stunning privacy screen for the whole backyard. Then, just as all those expensive annuals are withering (in other peoples' yards), my poppers burst into bloom with dear little orange, snapdragon-like flowers. When the flowers turn into seed pods, you pinch them between your fingers and they pop in an adorable, birthday-party kinda way.
EXHIBIT A: LUSCIOUS CROP OF POPPERS

I wish thistles and ragged robins grew around here. Ever seen a thistle in bloom? Who the hell thought up making that a weed?

You know what's the best part of Annie's foolproof gardening method? You don't have to lift a finger or invest a dime, and bueno! Green, green everywhere!

The moral of this sermon: Your garden isn't full of weeds. It's an equal opportunity growing place.
BEANNACHD LEAT,
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

6 comments:

BBC said...

I love my dandelions, why wouldn't I? They where here before this body was, they will be here when this body is gone.

Nettle said...

Funny that you mention jewelweed (what I think you mean by "poppers?") in the same post as poison ivy - did you know that the juice from a stem of jewelweed soothes poison ivy itch? It also works against poison oak and (sorry) nettle sting.

Weeds are some of my best friends; it's why I named myself after one! One thing I have learned about weeds - if one in particular is always popping up near me - dock by your doorstep, dandelion in your yard, mugwort on your patio - I probably need whatever gift it is that plant has to offer. They just... show up when needed.

Hope you had as great a time with the fairies this weekend as I did with the sheep!

Nettle

MountainLaurel said...

My biologist buddies say that they have a Darwinian garden: "Survival of the fittest."

Strangely enough, I quoted the same definition of "weed" to My Man this weekend as we were cleaning out his flowerbox.

MM: "Is that a weed?"
ML: "Well, I like it, thus, by definition, it isn't a weed."

Mama Kelly said...

I dislike the term weed ... I much prefer wildflower or the more ubiquitous "native plant".

Mama Kelly

Jonah said...

My high school biology teacher used to scream at people when they said "seaweed."

"It's KELP!" he would say. "WEED is an OPINION!"

Nettle said...

See, now, I love the word "weed." It's a word with attitude - it's tough and doesn't back down. Weeds grow becaue THEY want to grow, not because someone else wants them to - weeds look out for themselves and determine their own path. I would much rather be like a weed, finding my own way and thriving anywhere, than like some prissy high-maintenance garden plant.

"Native plant" can be a misnomer since many plants that get called "weeds" are introduced - often they were introduced on purpose for their many wonderful properties.

I (heart) weeds.