Monday, April 21, 2008


A few weeks ago I was engaged in a "fake garden" (the Secret one) while I polished Miss Mary's details (and her little wooden key to the garden gate, hung close by for safekeeping).

This week, however, was the real deal. Not the fun garden, where only flowers grow, weeds die a grisly death (without human effort) and birds sing in the rose-draped trees....

The Garden, as it has been known for the last decade, is in desperate need of rescue. It hasn't been a true garden in over a decade: most of the vinyard lines have gone wild, the herb and garlic beds grown over with weeds, and a sea of honeysuckle engulfs every sapling that springs from the seeds of trees long dead and forgotten. It is the secret garden, in a way -- forgotten, buried, grown wild and tangled -- but the harsh reality of the forgotten garden, not the pleasantly sleeping one.

Half the fence that separates the Garden from the true lawn collapsed last year (that was Angus' fault for climbing over it; see him lazing about on the lawn while we slave away?) The rotten old posts were pulled up, leaving a wide open doorway into another world, largely inhabited by small furry creatures like mice and shrews, wild little wrens, and snakes threading throught the grass (the latter I avoid at all costs). The sapling will be thinned out, pruned, and encircled with mulch; the old beds weeded and ploughed over to create new space for pumpkins, herb beds, tomato rows and broom corn.

Below is a picture of the "great divide" ; Mouse sits on the lawn, the open Garden visible behind her.

The arbor is the toughest to eliminate. After fierce debate, it was decided that at least some grapes and muscodines should be salvaged. The little "overhead" arbor stays on the west side, but the east side is overrun with honeysuckle and is (alas) lost to us.

Mouse doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. "Why are you tearing up these lovely hunting grounds?" she demands to know. All those little mice will vanish as the weeds are pulled up and raked away, leaving no place for nests or grassy hiding places.

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