I finally got back into my garden this morning - it feels like I've been away on a long trip. (Actually, I've been distracted due to house painters, out-of-town guests, a newborn niece, and a persistent respiratory "bug.")
Sadly, the garden looks like I've been away on a long trip, too.
The first order of business was to start the sprinklers running full time again. The water I poured on 2 weeks ago has not been supplemented by Mother Nature, so it's back to dragging the hoses around the yard. I'm just thankful that we have the ability to water - I wouldn't have much of a garden or lawn left without it at this point.
After getting the sprinklers going, it was on to clean-up work. First I dead-headed the iris, a quick and satisfying task. Then I spent the rest of the morning weeding and attacking the edges of a rampant patch of Aster and variegated Artemesia. Despite liking the brightening effect of the Artemesia, I've decided that it's too aggressive a grower and that I need to remove it totally. I'm thinking of it as a gift of omission to whoever inherits my garden! Meanwhile it has formed an almost solid mat about 8' in diameter and the roots are a dismaying admixture of fragility and tenaciousness. They snake high and low throughout the soil, breaking off readily when I pull on them. Unfortunately, each piece left behind is dedicated to sending up a new shoot as soon as I leave it alone again. I won't be lacking something to keep me busy anytime soon!
Greg thinks I should "nuke" the area with Roundup, but I'm rather enjoying the challenge for now - besides which it feels more in line with my overall gardening philosophy to battle it "finger to root", so to speak.
Ironically, while I'm weeding and selectively eliminating things outside in the garden, I'm also trying to do the same thing inside with our household possessions. There's nothing like an impending move to wake you up to how vigorously the number of items you own has been growing.
And whether it's plants outside or possessions inside, I find it hard to weed them out. Without trying to be too PollyAnna-ish, I tend to see the positive potential in these things, rather than the positive potential of the open breathing room that their absence would provide.
But I've learned the importance of that breathing room the hard way, both in the yard and in my life, so I'm once again trying to work against my normal instincts by weeding out. Difficult as it is, in the end I'll be glad that I did it. And so will the garden.