Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Accidents

Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting, remember? Dab a little paint in the wrong place, there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. I suppose what was intended to be a bush might end up a tree, but no matter.

I have a similar approach to the plants in my yard. Many little volunteers show up and I haven't the heart to pull them up. The Russian Sage and Jupiter's Beard are particularly prolific. Left to their own devices, I'd have a yard full of just them in a couple of years. So some of them do get pulled up by the roots. And some get repotted and given away. My rule, as I explained to my granddaughter while weeding earlier this week, if it encroaches on another plant, it has to come up as neither will do well. A second rule is if it really is in a bad place, blocks a view or pathway, it comes up. Even some weeds I allow to grow. While spreading mulch, we spared two ordinary sunflowers as they were both in places where they could enhance the color and texture of the garden. But morning glory always gets pulled up, as does Virginia Creeper. And if only I knew how to get rid of what I call barnyard grass - what a demon.

My granddaughter really gets it. "It all about boundaries," Grandma, she said. So succinct and exactly right.

The yucca that volunteered in the wrong place a couple of years ago, I tried to save by moving to another location, but it turned black and died. So I pulled it up. But this year is has volunteered in its new spot. So encouraged am I by this, I will retrieve the other one that has volunteered in the middle of the myrtle. I'll not worry if it turns black--there's a chance it will survive. I'd like to devote a section just to yuccas and maybe some other desert-like plants.

I'm going to lose one of my favorite bee balms. Is it snails? Is it fungus? I just don't know, but it's not doing well at all. A not so happy accident. But I surrounded it with black-eyed susans and penstemon that volunteered once again in those old broken pots that had to be thrown out this year. I hurriedly stuck those in the ground around the bee balm just to save them. It's turned into a very special and lovely spot after all. I'll try to save the bee balm.

Live and let live is my approach to my yard and to people, too. Opinionated and out-spoken as I am, I so hate it when I discover I've stepped on toes, hurt feelings. But I speak out when I feel I must. It's sort of like the encroachment rule with my garden. I have to defend the little space around me that allows me to thrive.

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