O Alika!

This spring, like every spring, the weather was odd.  It was way too cold with snow lingering well into the season.  It was also very, very wet.

Did I mention how wet it was?

Somehow with all this dreary weather, the month of April in which I usually weed like crazy, saw me inside observing the rain from a comfortable chair by the fire.  All chores that I thought could be pushed back, got pushed back.  This is why I am now weeding with enormous ratchet pruners instead of regular sized clippers. This is why I need one of the resident chain saw gentlemen to cut down something that was formerly a shrub but now would best be described as an impenetrable thicket.  This is why April’s polite little whispers of weeds became scratchy behemoths. This is why I am writing a blog about Alika Rose.

Oh Alika!

Yes, you ARE beautiful and I love you BUT…….The arrival of June sunshine meant that my moment of reckoning  with you had come after my long, cold, wet April by the fire with a lot of good books.

YOU were my last hurdle this garden season.  Well frankly, you are STILL my last hurdle even though we have now tangled with each other.

To back up a bit……Missing the month of April and all those April tasks put me behind the garden eight ball, so in May, even when it continued cold and wet,  I went out in the rain and tried to catch up.   All the many flats of annuals from the greenhouse and cold frames got planted in cold and wet May.  Along with the baby plants, the vegetable seeds got planted in cold and wet May in the cold and wet ground.  Some of them are complaining about this still.   The Red Shiso went in the ground at the tail end of cold and wet May and rolled with the punches to germinate in the last few days. When everything was planted, I grabbed my clippers and tackled the weeds in the perennial beds in cold and wet May.  I was a whirling dervish of soggy gardening.  Except I just couldn’t bring myself to tackle the Rose Garden ESPECIALLY ALIKA-  It’s the very first garden I always work in during April and well, it had been looking more and more unkempt ESPECIALLY ALIKA.

June arrived.  I could delay no more.  It was time to weed this garden AND DEAL WITH ALIKA.

Weeds are often well loved plants surfacing in the wrong places. This is never more true than in the Rose garden where Rose suckers are often just another name for Rose weeds.  And a well loved plant in the wrong place is still a weed even when it is gorgeous Alika Rose.  It’s the truth. SORRY ALIKA!

It’s not like the Roses (ESPECIALLY ALIKA)  were quaking at the thought of me finally weeding their territory.  It’s not like I put my money where my mouth is and cut back all these Rose weeds. Especially if they are in bud, I walk away and let them bloom before I cut them down.  To sum up,  I am a notorious wimp when it comes to weeding out Rose suckers.  I am sure the Roses know it (ESPECIALLY ALIKA), and so do I.

Things went particularly poorly this year as I battled in the Rose garden. Enough that I will weed the Rose garden IN APRIL NOT JUNE even if I have to shovel snow off the ground to do it.

My struggles with the Alika Rose were classic examples of me wimping out on benevolent ruthlessness in the garden. ( I BET YOU ARE NOT SURPRISED TO HAVE ME WRITE THIS).

The problem with Alika Rose is that she sends out suckers in all directions. Hundreds of them. Maybe thousands.  I would not be surprised if there was a sucker from our Alika Rose in your garden. And every one of these suckers is determined to throw an immense spray of blossoms. FAST! And I am sure Alika does this so I don’t cut any of these suckers back but feel compelled to wait until they have blossomed AND TAKEN A FOOT OR SIX MORE FEET OF GROUND IN THE GARDEN.

Why can’t some of the other Roses behave like this and give Alika a bit of a run for her money? I don’t know.  Other Roses seem to fade away when Alika steamrolls over their turf.  Other Roses need me to wield my clippers for them- And I try.  I really do.

Alika Rose suckers that I missed clipping or wimped out on dealing with forcefully in seasons past have turned an entire stretch of the Rose garden into ALIKA ROSE VILLAGE.  As a Flower Essence, its I AM affirmation is, “I AM the beacon that knows no limit. I AM one with my source.”  Alika certainly DOESN’T know any limits OR MANNERS!

When I went to tackle Alika this weekend, I cleaned out under the Alika giants pictured above, but then I began to waffle.  There were just so many buds in so many places.  After a Sunday afternoon hemming and hawing about cutting these buds back, surprise surprise, Monday dawned and every last bud had become a blaze of blossoming glory.

Now, even though Alika has infiltrated the Chives, the Comfrey, the Rhubarb, the Therese Bugnet Roses, the Asparagus AND the Echinacea-  I feel like I HAVE to let her blossom before I hack her back.

Alika Rose in the Chives

Alika Rose in the Therese Bugnet Roses

Oh Alika! You remind me how much I still have to learn about gardening! and pruning! and life!

Lightning Strikes

A thunderstorm blew through yesterday bringing hail

and a lightning strike that took down a pine tree in the hedgerow between the two main hayfields of the farm.

Both Jim and Will saw the lightning strike the tree.  It was a dramatic moment of orange fire and and exploding tree parts.

After the storm had passed we went down into the fields to inspect the damage.

The Pine broke in two about half way up.

The top of the tree was thrown to the south east of the trunk.

Limbs were buried deep into the ground.

Slivers of barrels branches like this one encircled the tree. I love the pines down in this part of the farm and was sad to see it go.

Here Will beats a retreat back up the hedgerow before another thunderstorm arrives.  Will graduated from college on Sunday.  It is amazing to realize that the baby who inspired Meatballs for Breakfast and so many Babies of Light Flower Essences is now sailing out into the world! Congrats Will!