Spring Banter

In Spring, most of my conversations are addressed to whomever was in charge of the gardens in season past. That would be me. Molly of yesteryear.

I am forever wondering what on earth Molly of yesteryear was thinking when she did this, that, and the other thing. Last week, I wondered why on earth Molly of yesteryear had planted all these daffodils in a place that really needed very short plants. But in this instance, Molly of yesteryear surprised real time Molly with her brilliance, because in this spot she planted miniature daffodils just two or three inches tall and they look adorable.

Sadly, Molly of yesteryear’s forethought is not always so impeccable. For example, today after I planted sweet peas and regular peas in an early burst of vegetable garden fever, I found myself contemplating an enormous mess of crab grass and bearded iris right smack dab in the middle of the vegetable garden.

Several years ago, a gardening friend gave Molly of yesteryear a paper bag full of gorgeous pale purple iris rhizomes. She couldn’t think where to put the iris so she put them “temporarily” in the vegetable garden until permanent quarters could be found. The next season slipped by without her moving these iris and by then, she was enjoying their display of spring color out there among the cabbages. But there were problems in paradise. As Sophie and Emily can attest, way too much time was spent trying to weed this now enormous patch of iris, but to no avail. When real time Molly examined the iris patch this year it was clear that for every piece of crab grass the girls had weeded out, forty more relentless strands of grass remained.

The reason? Molly of yesteryear just slapped those iris rhizomes into the vegetable garden without removing the crab grass infested dirt wrapped around the iris roots and so, what she really planted was crab grass with a side of iris.

Today saw me, real time Molly. wrestling with shovels, pitchforks, enormous clumps of iris, and yards of crab grass roots in a futile effort to sort the mess out. Finally, utterly defeated, I retreated with a modest hundred extremely well cleaned rhizomes and put them in a Flower bed far, far away from that awful scene of crab grass carnage.

Next, when I can bear the thought of the remaining thousand or so rhizomes returning to compost, I will put down cardboard on top of the whole area of the garden and mulch very heavily. Very heavily. And I will try not to think of all the iris that someone made of sterner stuff than myself would battle on into the night to save. Or I will relieve my guilt and find a friend who wants ten paper bags full of crab grass with a side of iris and who wants to dig this confection up herself!


In the meantime, to take our thoughts of the carnage in the vegetable garden, here is a picture of diminutive yet striking Iris Reticulata, a gorgeous early spring beauty with no interest in cosying up with any crab grass.

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