I was out there for nearly an hour, and by the end I was mostly just discouraged. There's a couple of spots in the backyard that I'm about to declare Sacrifice Zones and just hose down with glyphosate, but this particular area contains a stand of native shrubs called hearts a-burstin' that I really want to save. It's lovely, it's mild-mannered, it's weird, and I'm delighted to have it.
Unfortunately, it is also completely buried in honeysuckle. After a solid hour of ripping up vast tangles of the nasty stuff, and uncoiling strangling vines from around the base of the shrubs--they'd killed a couple of 'em already, but I'm pretty sure I got to some others in time--I still wasn't done clearing a stand that's only about the size of the kitchen table. It was depressing as hell.
I sat down on the stairs up to the deck and put my head in my hands, feeling like I was trying to hold back the Sahara desert by scooping up buckets of sand. Who am I kidding? If I stop fighting this stuff, in five years it'll overrun the entire yard. It'll smell lovely and birds will come visit it, but there will be fewer and fewer birds because no bugs can live there, and it'll strangle the big trees and pull them down, and eventually it'll be a perfumed green desert draped over the rotting trunks. There's a stand on the neighbor's property that's going that way already. It looks like somebody set a wicker basket over it. And down the road, with the best intentions in the world, somebody is probably planting a pot of the stuff right this minute because they sell it at Lowes and it doesn't occur to them that a big home improvement store would sell a noxious weed.*
And then I discovered that I had stepped in dog shit.
With both feet.
There comes a time when every woman must admit that she is Done For The Day. I went inside--taking my shoes off first--and sulked.
But of course, I'll be back out there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next week. If I hold off the invasives for five years, then that's five years of birds and bugs and five years for natives to get established enough to fight back. I am doing the Lord's work, as Grandma would have said, and if our version of the Lord who's work we are doing is significantly different, the premise still stands. No use praying for him to send a solution--he already sent one. I'm it.
Grandma was a good Catholic. My vision of the deity who watches over the garden is...well...a little smaller and a little more personal. And a little more cute.
Squash Pulls Weeds
I bet if there are gardening gods--and if there are gods of anything, surely it must be gardens--they have to do their weeding by hand, too.
*Heh. Heh heh. Everybody laugh with me now, because otherwise the weeping will get out of hand.