Monday, April 24, 2006

Patience, Impatience, and Armadillos

I've been hard at work in the garden for the past several days and I'm beginning to see some signs that reward my efforts....

First, the value of "no effort", also known as patience. Remember that poor sapling blackgum tree that my 8 month old German Shepherd chewed off a couple weeks ago? Hoping against hope that it might have the life-force to resprout, I've left it in the ground. This weekend it paid me back by putting out 3 side shoots. I've now caged it in with a cheap wire obelisk from Lowe's (to protect it from more interest by Becker) and I have high hopes that it will survive and even thrive.

Survival story #2: I've also been avoiding pulling out another "dead" tree, a 6' tall, multi-trunked yaupon that I mistreated this winter by letting it spend many months in a wheelbarrow while I decided where to (trans)plant it. It survived that trauma with great dignity (if many fewer leaves than it should have had), and we planted it out in a great spot about 6 weeks ago. At which point it promptly appeared to die. The remaining leaves turned deep, dead brown and the tree just sat there. But under the bark still showed green, so I continued to hold out hope. And have been rewarded! There are now many little sprouts up and down the main trunk and on a few of the side branches. I'm sure it will show the memory of its trauma for the rest of its life, through its altered form, but I'm thrilled that it survived. The less than perfect form will just remind me of the lessons in Broken for You, emphasizing the beauty in imperfection and healed brokenness.

So those are my "patience" lessons. Sometimes impatience wins out though. I attacked the Artemesia again this morning, carefully digging deep into the soil and sifting out every remnant of root I could find. For over an hour. Until at last my rapidly blistering hand and increasing blood pressure and temperature ruled the day. Deciding that 2 square feet cleared was not a good value for time invested, I vowed to remove every last photosynthetic surface and starve the sucker out. So that's what I did. Whether it will be a successful way to remove such a tenacious plant remains to be seen, but it sure looks better right now. And I feel a whole lot better too.

Speaking of my blood pressure going up, it's also armadillo season. Each spring an army of the pesky mammals seems to invade the garden, digging deep and massive holes in the lawn and under a lot of my favorite plants. After several days of filling in the holes and hoping that the plants weren't too badly damaged, I took pre-emptive action last night and barricaded up my drainage holes under the back fence. It seems to have been effective, as I didn't see any new damage this morning...but now I have to remember to take down the barricades before each rain.

Which reminds me that Darwin, Australia, is being pummeled by a major cyclone today. Here in the U.S. it would be called a Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds of 180 mph and gusts to 220 mph. My stomach clenches at the thought. I wonder what this year's hurricane season will bring to us....

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