Ruis (wombbat) wrote,

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Ah, Yes... July...

I remember this month. This is the frantic month. All that was happily seeded, planted, dreamed, envisioned in May becomes a distorted, horrible reality now. Little is as I imagined. The sweet grass I rejoiced to find had survived the winter was dug out and shredded by my young puppies. One of three potato cages also was unearthed and nearly destroyed. I performed triage on both these catastrophes: I took the sweet grass roots that I could find and transplanted them into a zinc tub in the front yard (outside the puppy run) where, after a month, they seem to be recovering well. I also happened to find one of the potatoes, serendipidously reburied in the middle of the yard and sprouting. I lovingly replaced it in its cage and it has continued to valiantly grow, despite the rough treatment. Similarly, three of five raspberrry transplants were dug out and shredded.

The ornamental peppers, meant to be a hedge along the front walk, have "failure to thrive" syndrome. Three of 10 have succumbed to competition from reseeded love-in-a-mist and violets, or being stepped on, or dogs. The remaining 7 are runty little things, victims of the cold and rainy spring. I keep hoping that they'll begin to take off soon, but perhaps they are permanently stunted.

The wild lettuce flourishes, as do multiple other weeds: creeping charlie, devil's pitchfork, motherwort, and of course, violets, lamb's quarters, lady's thumb and avens. I know many of these plants have their medicinal uses. Actually, as non-native "invaders," all of them were brought to this country for their useful properties, probably. And I *do* use them. I tincture the motherwort, use the creeping charlie fresh, eat the violets and lady's thumb, make salve of the plantain. If only there weren't so MANY of them.

The hazelnut (one of two), which seemed to die last fall, miraculously sprang anew from its roots this spring. That is, it did until Chessie nipped the 24" sprout off with her teeth as I watched. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

My herb garden has been a victim of all this year's popular depredations: dogs, neglect, dispair and weeds. After the debacle of the potatoes, raspberries and sweetgrass, after a lot of tears, after a mighty struggle to let go of the backyard beds while the dogs still are puppies, I settled on denial as a mental health preservative. Therefore, when the puppies snuck under the fence surrounding the herb bed and dug a large hole near the lemon thyme, I barely batted an eye. I just snivelingly replaced the fence and went back into denial. When they snuck in again and trampled the chives, I did the same. I just looked up the other day and the lady's thumb and lamb's quarters were waist high. Hmmmm. That's what denial will get ya. But it's OK. I've been crawling around in there and have begun to get the weeds under control and the borage beaten into submission. It reseeds so exuberantly, I had to pull out more than I allowed to stay. AND the wild strawberries I thought were volunteers turned out to be cinquefoil ...AGAIN!

Thankfully, this year, for the first time, I have a strong ally in the garden. My partner Beth is an activist looking for work and thus is home with time on her hands. She has been weeding and mulching, even putting in a path of stepping stones around the herb garden. This has been a blessing. In the areas that she's reached, weed domination has been severly checked. She hasn't been too involved in the garden before this year, but now she's absolutely motivated. I am so grateful. The path looks great!!!!

My layering and air-layering experiments have yielded zero success. We had quite a wind storm on July 4, with 70 mile per hour gusts. The smoke tree spike that I had girdled, sprinkled with rooting hormone and encased in moss and foil snapped off. It *had* begun to root, however. I tried to layer the long single current cane I put in two years ago. I bent down the cane and mounded some dirt around the top of it, then secured it with a couple pieces of bamboo stake. Unfortunately, in her zealous mulching and weeding, Beth unearthed it. It had not begun rooting. I think I may have to make some slits and resort to more rooting hormone.

The garden is NOTHING if not a metaphor for how we handle our spiritual challenges. So my attempt to control puppyhood, and my inability to let go in the backyard and allow the wheel to turn, are symptomatic of my difficulties I have allowing myself to be in the flow of my life. Having faith that death is only the center part of the life/death/life cycle, that loss is about making room for rebirth, is hard for me. I struggle and struggle: WHY did they have to trample the white bleeding heart and not the violets? Why the loss of the jack-in-the-pulpits and hostas but not the avens? WHY do they chew the sweetgrass and not the crabgrass that's strangling the hyacinth bean vine? Likewise, thinning the borage volunteers... Do I have the right to end their lives? What about the saying "A witch that cannot curse, cannot cure" -- do I believe that one must be a death-giver to be a life-giver?
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