garden or jungle?

No beautiful flower portraits or pictures of that perfectly weeded and mulched spot today. Today you get to see the places where plants have taken over the path, or, less pleasing, weeds have taken over the path, and where it looks more like a jungle than a garden. Half of the front yard now is weeded and has paths that are mulched. The other half looks like this.

wood anemones and spirea taking over the path

Here the gooseneck loosestrife, sweet ciceley, columbine and sweet woodruff have eaten the path

Here is what the paths are supposed to look like. I would like nice welcoming wide paths that you can navigate without being slapped by over-arching plants or get your clothes all wet in morning dew or after rain. In other words, I’d like the gardens to be actually penetrable. I’d also love more sitting spots that are comfortable. I imagine sturdy, deep seated benches with backs to lean on and arm rests for coffee cups. For now, we have flat rocks on concrete blocks.  Not too comfortable.

newly weeded path

a path–inviting!

Another place where my garden resembles a jungle is the south side of the house. It might be pretty to look at, but it’s a little intimidating if you want to go into it!


southside path

The thing is, from late May to mid-July gardening is simply a race against the vigor of growing and sprouting things. I create huge piles of greenery for the compost pile in a single hour of  weeding. After mid-July things slow down a little.

Yesterday I tackled the potting shed, which is now cleared out, organized, and fun to be in.  I did some actual potting in there this morning: at the co-op they were selling plants for a dollar, and I bought 8 yarrow plants. I re-potted them in good dirt and big pots because I’m not sure where I want them yet.

The daylily season is under way. Every morning I look to see which ones of the 60 or so varieties I have here are opening. This showy one opened this morning.

nice red and orange daylily

It’s hard for me to look out at the garden landscape without thinking of what needs to be done: weed this, mulch that, sharpen that edge, rescue that unhappy plant, divide that monster plant, pick off that Japanese beetle…. But when I’m actually doing a particular job I can focus. Time disappears, I can see the details but I’m also happily aware of and commune with the wind, the songbirds, ants, beetles, earwigs, cats, plant roots, stems, leaves and flowers–etc…

ant on echinacea petal

I’m present and pretty much blissed out. Because time does disappear, I often bring out the kitchen timer, so I know when an hour has passed. I usually ignore it for another 15 minutes, but then I force myself to stop and go inside for a drink of water, and a breather.

sweet peas

We decided to make an archway over the entrance to the meditation garden, using an antique sully (light cart pulled after one horse) made of wood and beautiful iron-work. You can sort of see it in this photo. Right now it’s just leaning against the entryway. We’re going to raise it up, of course. There are also little wooden pieces perfectly positioned for hanging two small wind chimes.

new archway

The cats are always around where we are working outside. I just love their company. Here is Mr. Fluff hanging out enjoying the day on the front porch.

Mr. Fluff on the front porch this morning


1 thought on “garden or jungle?

  1. “What is a garden for? For the soul, sir, for the soul of the poet! For visions of the invisible, for grasping the intangible, for hearing the inaudible, for exaltations.” S. Reynolds Hole. Love this quote–for the soul! That must be what gardening is for–feeding my soul!

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