With all the posting about my tiny little reef garden, I have neglected posting about my big outdoor garden!
Today, as my reward for surviving the weekend AND getting Ninjabreath art done, I went to a local garden shop called Niche Gardens. They specialize in native plants, and my god, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
Fortunately, half my gardening expenditures come off my rent, as property enhancement. So I picked up a bunch of native shrubs for the yard–summer sweetbush and another spicebush for the mucky part-shade area next to the house, a dwarf pepperbush to go in my new bed, a male deciduous holly to pollinate the two females I planted last fall, wild indigo (a personal favorite) and pink swamp milkweed for the monarchs. I tossed a small jacob’s ladder into the drainage ditch–it’s a notorious self-seeder, so if it likes the area, it can have it, and more I cannot do. I also got Kevin a paw-paw sapling to replace his dead weeping cherry–I mean, it’s a foot tall, so it doesn’t really replace it yet, but I’m putting it in the ground in the same place. Pawpaws are a cool southern native with big weird fruit–not as conventionally pretty as weeping cherry, but much more nifty.
And I am doing something potentially insane, but I’m feelin’ crazy.
There is a large section of the property that, as I have mentioned before, is overrun with bindweed. I rip out vast quantities about once a week. This afternoon I discovered a daylily bed under the stuff. It makes no particular dent in the bindweed, and I have yet to locate a place that sells bindweed mites.
But now I’m fighting fire with fire.
I have planted mint.
Native mountain mint, to be sure, a mint beloved of the local pollinators, but a mint nonetheless, and as generations of gardeners will tell you, mint is like the nuclear option among plants. You don’t dare put it in a bed, because it will own that bed forever. You can’t even put it in a pot NEAR a bed, because it will send roots through the drainage hole and pop up ten feet away, laughing maniacal minty laughter.
By planting mint among the bindweed, I may be resigning myself to a lifetime of yanking out mint seedlings from my bed, despite the gravel driveway in between us, but I don’t care. It can fight with the bindweed. If that whole area becomes an uninhabitable tangle of bindweed and mint, at least the mint will make it biologically useful to pollinators, and it’ll smell nice.
I don’t dare consider what’ll happen if the bindweed devours it. A plant that can eat mint may be bigger than any of us.
So I had a good time gardening and got about half the plants in the ground, and then I had an itch and went to scratch and it was a tick and I ran screaming into the house to Kevin to pry it off, which he did, and then I ripped my pants off–I always do this, having a tick requires me to immediately become nude in case there are Other Ticks, and god help me, there WAS another tick, so I screamed a bit more and Kevin pried that one off too and then I ran around nude and shrieking for a minute or two until I felt better and the beagle got excited and started howling and Kevin muttered something about my phobias and stomped into the bathroom to pee into a sieve in an effort to pass that damn kidney stone and I decided I was done gardening for the day.
Which is kind of how it usually goes down, except I even wore lots of bug goop this time, so those little bastards weren’t fighting fair at all.