The month of May flew by for me. Usually, I’m focused on my daughter’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and gardening work for clients, but this year I was also consumed by one other very meaningful thing: participating in my local garden tour. I was invited back in January and I’ve been working on it, if only for a few hours, every dry day since. Normally the burden wouldn’t be so intense but in November we had a long, large hedge of laurel removed and a fence installed. This left me with over 100 feet of bare space that’s 6-8 feet deep to fill in/rework with plants. I was sort of freaking out. I had plants and small trees I could transplant but they were big and unwieldy. With the help of my pal Angela, I was able to move some of the more mature shrubs to the fence line and create a new backdrop of my eastern border. By late March things were looking good.
But then the sunny weather came and so did the weeds. Just when I finished one section, another would suddenly be covered in little green dandelion starts. So I’d head over to that new bed, and just when I finished weeding that bed, another bed would suddenly be turning green with baby weeds. It was like a bad, frantic dream. I couldn’t keep up. That’s when I got serious in May and composted behind every newly weeded bed.
Compost not only gives a nutritious boost to plants but it amazingly suppresses weeds (even better than bark mulch). In years past, I’ve conducted inadvertent experiments where I composted 9/10ths of a mixed border and left that final 10th bare because I ran out of compost. Sure enough, a month later, the last 10th would be littered with weeds and the composted area still black and bare. Not to mention the plants would have put on beautiful fresh foliage.
So I’ve been spending the last four weeks weeding borders and composting the day afterward. I’m exhausted. I’ve been working until nearly nine o’clock every evening and have used nearly four yards of compost. But my yard now looks fresh and healthy. And the black color of the compost makes plants’ colors and shapes pop. Like a black canvas against which everything glows.
Now that June’s here, I realize I have less than two weeks before the garden tour. I’m both excited and panicked. If I can keep the pace, I’ll have a series of gorgeous borders. If I can’t, well, there may be a few more weeds than visitors anticipated…. Regardless, I’m trying to be Zen about it all.