Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I'm tired, tired, tired.

Yardwork, which is to say, back garden work.

Got the new bed for the blackberries and so on finished last week. The sand cherry is moved out of the northwest corner into the east border, the new Solomon's seals are now in along the north fence, the saxifrage is moved from behind the kerrias in the north border to a position in front of them, and the new Jacob's Ladder (polemonium caeruleum) is where the saxifrage used to be.

And the blackberry is in the ground, as of yesterday.

The great struggle this year is against the maple tree seeds. Is there some conspiracy among maple trees that induces them all to let go in natural-disaster proportions in certain years? First my Norway maple covered the bottom end of the backyard with what looked like yellow-green snow. I swept and raked up the little paired green whirligigs, from the walk, the north border, and the unplanted garden beds. Then the neighbors' silver maple let loose a week-long barrage of pale brown samaras. Maple seeds everywhere! On the walkway! On the garden cobbles! On the beds I'd raked out before! In the borders! On the porch!

And especially in the grass, nose-down, wings in the air, looking like unexploded bombs protruding from the wreckage of London during the Blitz. Or lying flat and myraid in the bare patches I have to reseed.

I think the neighbors' tree has about shot its bolt. I think. So yesterday evening I went out and raked maple seeds out of my yard. And raked, and raked, and raked. Filled up the ComposTumbler with them but there were still thousands to go. Filled up a large black lawn bag with them, but there's still more out there. Ran the lawn mower over them, but they're still in my grass, waiting to explode, waiting till I drop my guard for one minute, conspiring to grow into saplings that'll defy my mower blade and mock the strain in my back as I bend to pull them by hand.

I do not care. I'm too tired to mess with it anymore. The backyard is going to get reseeded whether the maples are invading or not.

In a day or two. When I'm not so tired.

Then today, I fork-turned one of my four garden beds. It needed turned because I emptied last year's ComposTumbler load into it and the new compost had to be integrated. It needed turned because the maples in my yard love the amendments and fertilizer and water so much, they spread their roots in anew every year. I have to smack their little rooty fingers, as it were, and say "Hands off!"

But where, oh where did those new rocks come from? I know I double-dug that bed three or four years ago! I've been turning it over by spade and fork every year since! Why should I be hitting big roundy rocks 10" down now? Did the rock gnomes bring them via subterranean passage? They can't be petified potatoes I forgot to dig last year; I've never grown potatoes yet!

Well, the rocks are now out. Some of them, anyway. And the bed is forked and turned. And I've got six seedlings of broccoli planted, and despite the wind, mulched with newspaper and ground-up leaves. And a bushel more maple seeds are swept off the cobbles of the garden paths.

And I am tired. Too tired to upload pictures.

Maybe later.


Elaine said...

You must have that rare Gremlin breed of rock in your yard. Not the cute, cuddly kind, but the mean monster kind that multiplies in the water.

Wishing you a long, well-deserved nap. Sounds like it's shaping up to be a beautiful garden.

Kate H. said...

Thanks. After living here a few years I'm better acquainted with the plantings the POs left and the behaviour of what I've put in. Which means I'm establishing some structure, and can work from there.

Sandy said...

We have maple helicopters everywhere! Sigh.