If I gleaned another pithy life lesson from my garden today — which I didn’t — it for sure would not be “live and let live.” It’s a good sentiment, and one I would love to follow, but certain garden aggressors, not just weeds, tend to turn the adage too much to their advantage, overshadowing and choking out shyer plants. I do understand aggression is the way of the world, especially in a garden, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Nor do I have to like getting aggressive myself, but sometimes it’s necessary to become destructive in order to give less aggressive plants a chance.
Today was my day to try to control some of the aggressors that are way too successful at growing beyond their allotted boundaries. As I mentioned before, I got so tired of battling the Bermuda grass all summer that I broke my no-chemical resolve and purchased an herbicide a couple of weeks ago that’s supposed to control Bermuda grass. The first application didn’t do anything, nor did the second, so I sprayed again today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the herbicide will work this time, though I have no real hope of it doing so. Belatedly, I read the FAQs, and found out that this product might take up to seven applications, which means to me that using the stuff is an expensive ploy to make them money and give me something to do while I wait until the weedy grass goes dormant for the year.
I also hacked off some of the far-reaching branches of my tomatillo plant. I wasn’t particularly interested in growing tomatillos, but I was gifted with a seedling, so I stuck it in a bare spot in my garden. Until I pruned the plant, it seemed to have taken over the entire area. It completely buried my violets, and it smothered my chrysanthemums just when the mums are starting to bud and need to see the sun. The tomatillo plant had grown so big that even after my hatchet job, most of the plant is still there, so hopefully all I did with my destruction was restore a bit of balance.
At the beginning of mosquito season, I’d sprayed my yard with a repellant, but it seems to have worn off because my arms are now decorated with several hugely swollen areas where the bugs feasted. Of course, if I had worn my magic anti-mosquito shirt, I would still be itch-free, but I didn’t bother to put on the shirt before stepping outside for just a minute early yesterday, and now I am paying for my lapse. (There really is such a thing as a mosquito repellant shirt. You can buy them, or you can buy permethrin and make your own, which is what I do.)
Because of all that, I should have also sprayed my yard with a mosquito repellant today, but after dealing with the herbicide, I didn’t want to inundate the place with yet another chemical, so maybe I’ll do it another day.
Live and let live? Apparently not.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.