A WEEKEND IN THE GARDEN: IT'LL CURE WHAT AILS YOU


After one of the more challenging weeks of my working career, I was absolutely spent going into the weekend. I desperately needed to just stop thinking about everything for awhile.

Thank goodness Mother Nature cooperated and presented two nearly perfect spring days for me to get lost in the garden. And that's exactly what I did, getting caught up on some cleanup and a few small garden projects.

chive hedge
Right now they are just little clumps of chives around the perimeter of the circle garden, but soon they'll form a mini hedge.

The best thing I did in the garden was continue to work on the chive hedge in the circle garden. I started this as an experiment a couple years ago on just one section of the garden but was so thrilled with it, I've been slowly working toward extending it around the entire garden, including the interior borders. The lovely thing about chives is that they are so easy to grow and divide. The entire hedge has come from dividing the chives I had and dividing a few from my mother's garden. Because they grow quickly, I can sometimes divide them again at the end of the season.

I've made it almost all the way around the perimeter, and the one section is completed on the interior as well. I'm growing a few from seed as well and as soon as those plants are hardened off, I should only have a small amount left to do.

I love the hedge for a variety of reasons. For one, I think it lends structure to this garden that has always suffered a little bit from an identity crisis. I think that's a factor of having too many gardens; I spread my efforts across too many spaces so it can take a long time for one to be just right. But it also has the benefit of keeping out rabbits. I don't fool myself into thinking that the deer will give a rip about chives, but I think bunnies will. And lastly, they are so beautiful when they are in bloom and they are a huge draw to pollinators. Plus, why not have a hedge you can eat.

Unfortunately, in my much-needed Zen state of gardening, I failed to pause and take photos. If I had you might have seen an interesting development in the skinny patio garden. Things don't grow there like they should. The results of a soil test shed some light on that, but I've always felt like the inability of the climbing rose to thrive there was indicative of a larger problem. Turns out it probably was just the rose.

Since I'm completely redoing that bed—digging out everything and moving it or tossing it and replacing the soil—I dug up the climbing rose in order to move it. What I found was roots, in the perfect shape of gallon container, trapped in a circle. Although I purchased it in a two- or three-gallon container, clearly it had been grown in a gallon nursery pot for too long, then transplanted in a larger pot for sale, but remained rootbound. I'm irritated about it and frankly I'll be a little more careful about where I buy roses from now on. I trimmed up the roots to get rid of some of those that were strangling everything and moved it over by the veggie garden. Honestly, I don't give it a great chance of thriving there, but I'll continue to nurse it along.

Virginia bluebells
While cleaning out the beds I unearthed the tiny purple tips of the Virginia bluebells popping up.

So many leaves fell last last fall that the gardens were really messy. I ended up just using the leaf blower (I detest leaf blowers because I find them obnoxious but I recognize that they have their place and I'm pretty sure this is it) to clean out the beds. Unfortunately I also blew away just about every plastic plant tag, so I made a mental note about being better to use my metal plant labels.

Of course there were little projects along the way as well. I divided a few perennials, pruned some clematis and swung by my mom's garden to give her some help digging all the plants out of a garden where a new deck will be situated.

In a couple months a weekend of this kind of hard-labor gardening (as opposed to plant shopping and planting) will seem dreary and monotonous, but for now it was glorious respite from the more serious bits of life. My hamstrings are sore and my fingernails are gross but I wouldn't have it any other way.


13 comments :

  1. Tis the season for crusty hands and broken fingernails. Interesting to have a chive hedge. I hope the rabbits realize this is not for them.

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    1. The good news is that if the chives do not fend off the rabbits, the very large, beautiful and healthy fox I saw just down the road the other day probably will.

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  2. I was outside much of the day today in the gardens (mostly the vegetable one, planting potatoes) and it is definitely glorious! I am pretty tired too! But I did get most of the potatoes planted, yay!

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  3. I am glad you found some relaxation this weekend! I'm stealing your chive hedge idea in my sad, sad, sad herb garden. I'm on a little trip now but as soon as I get home I'm going to buy a few flats of chives and get it going. I know I should divide and all that but I'm an even more impatient gardener.

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  4. So fun to finally be in the garden!! I'm fighting the urge to get the rake out as I'm still unable to do anything too heavy. But I did get out and clean up the clematis and leftovers in the veggie patch. It looks like another glorious weekend ahead, so there will be lots done again!

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  5. Are you using a variety of chives that will stay where you put them? I find chives are a bit invasive.

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    1. Chives always get bigger and they do seed around a bit, but it's never gotten to the point where I'd consider them invasive. Plus there seems to be no limit to the people who are more than happy to take some off my hands.

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  6. Do you think it is only chives that will keep out rabbits or will other ornamental short alliums work also?

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    1. Well, I've given up trying to predict what the wildlife will do, but I do believe that the ornamental plants that I have planted near other alliums ('Summer beauty' comes to mind) seem to have less damage than other places in the garden so maybe there's something to that.

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  7. What a wonderful idea a chive hedge! We've just divided up a large clump of chive and handed them out to neighbors and co-workers I make space for other herbs and garlic chives in the veggie garden.

    I wonder if planting a mixture of them (onion and garlic chives) as a hedge would help deter carrot fly in the bed and our wayward toy poodle from the area!

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    1. I bet it would help with carrot fly. We don't have those here to my knowledge but I've seen the damage they do and they are nasty buggers! I would have to think that the scent of chives and garlic chives would certainly mask that carrot smell that attracts those little buggers.

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