Kneel, don’t bend

A code word given by nurses following back surgery nearly two years ago was supposedly an easy to remember warning to lift appropriately, to bend at the knees, not at the waist. I’m afraid I’m not a good student, and besides, who else is there on the premises to bend to pluck the many hundreds, thousands of tiny weeds that pop up each week?

Indian pinks (Spigelia marilandica) have settled in to grow vigorously.

And, while I’m overjoyed by the regular rainfall this late spring, there is likely to be a formula for some quantity of weeds per inch of rain. However many thousands it is, it’s now times ten in the past few weeks, with another few inches expected. I’m astounded that the garden is not a soggier mess than it is, but surprisingly I can get around to most of it without sinking up to my ankles.

An unknown rose cultivar has revived after being hidden under a wide spreading cypress that was removed a year ago.

The tiny Tiger mosquitoes are out in full force, and dragonflies are working overtime to patrol their territories by the koi pond. There have been frequent snake sightings in recent days. One or more Northern Brown water snakes are seen whenever the sun is shining. A week ago, two youngsters, not the big one that has not been seen for a while, were seen in the shallows of the pond doing that thing that results in the next generation of Northern Browns in this pond. I don’t know if I should apologize for snooping, but I was quickly discovered hiding behind the ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple. The session ended in a hurry.

As the weather warms, the koi are becoming more trusting, I suppose more due to hunger than overcoming wariness over lurking predators. Several years ago, dozens of koi would flop onto the rocks at the pond’s edge as I approached, but blue and green herons and the snakes have made them more cautious. Long ago, it became impossible to count the number of koi (and a handful of goldfish), but there must be a hundred or more, and I haven’t seen this year’s newcomers, though certainly they’re on the way.

Japanese iris have been crowded by Yellow Flag irises, but several remain at the edge of the koi pond.

At some point there will be too many koi for this fourteen hundred square foot pond, and late in autumn I was forced to upgrade the filtration. It pained me to spend the money, but today I’m pleased that the water is clearing.

The key to maintaining this acre and a quarter garden is, a little at a time. At times, the task seems overwhelming, and the garden a near disaster, though I’m comforted knowing that there are others that are worse. There is no help, unless you agree that my wife’s meddling with her pruners is helpful. Come on, bend at the knees, pull those weeds.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne says:

    I always love your blog Dave. Thanks for the smiles!

  2. Ruth says:

    Love the fish comments Dave! Marvellous! Thanks as always. 😀

  3. Bridget says:

    Love the updates. Looks beautiful!!

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Acre and a quarter?! Goodness! I wish I had an acre and a quarter. We have hundreds of acres. It is different sort of horticulture of course. I get it too. My colleague down south puts more work into his urban parcel than I put into vast areas here. He must maintain it partly as a demonstration garden for clients and such.

    1. Dave says:

      Here, there must be a balance between preventing weeds from taking over, and a place to relax while working six day weeks from March through June.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Well, my work is IN the landscape, so that makes a big difference. That is part of the allure of a winter home in the bare part of the Mojave Desert, where there are no horticultural distractions.

  5. Ginny says:

    Thank you Dave, for once again providing such comfort to your readers. After an entire day out in the garden, and getting little more done than removing weeds in flower and vegetable gardens, I am impressed at your patience and energy in such a large garden. My knees can attest to the hours spent. Your carefully crafted prose is always an inspiration to me, and keeps me laboring onward.

    1. Dave says:

      My quest remains to add to and grow this garden until there is no space for weeds to grow. It’s likely to be a success about the time my parts wear out completely.

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