Garden clean-up last fall dragged on into an unusually lengthy event. I never like to cut plants down before frost, but vow to do just that this coming year. I was furiously clipping down plants well into December, looking over my shoulder every day for that first snowstorm of the season. Since the snow held off until the holiday, I am rewarded this spring with some amazingly orderly flower beds. With an exception that falls into the wabi-sabi category… that huge bed of gooseneck loosestrife (yes, an invasive…) lay there flattened and matted, taunting me.
Gooseneck loosestrife is truly gorgeous, but a garden thug of epic proportions. About 15 years ago, I saw a beautiful stand of them in a display garden and just had to have some. Now they dominate the southeastern corner of the front porch, crowding out even the vigorous ferns, evening primrose and centurea that were there. And they’re the devil to pull out, having glassy roots that break off shoots with every forking.
Mr. Wonderful, in all his glorious cat-ness, gladly assisted me by enforcing frequent petting session breaks as I clipped away. For some reason, he’s been following me around this spring, performing sentinel duty while I garden. Yesterday, while I tugged and clipped the loosestrife, he cavorted among the rustling stalks. At one point he crawled in and napped in a nest of them, which sent me in search of the camera.
Wise late fall accomplishments allowed me the luxury of grooming some areas this spring. Rather than breathlessly racing to cut last year’s stalks before this year’s growth progressed too far, the cobblestone retaining wall in the south garden magically manifested one day.
The next morning, with a mug of hot tea I went to inspect the new rock wall. My newly retained garden was replete with the gory bottom half of a mouse laying next to some newly transplanted hens ‘n chicks.
The perfect gift from Mr. Wonderful, Master Gardener.