It’s all my fault

“That’s man for you; blaming on his shoes the faults of his feet ” – Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot)

Okay, I admit to a certain culpability. I complain about the Norway maples, but many of my problems are of my own making. The hours I spent de-mapleifying my garden today might have something to do with my laissez-faire, some might even say slatternly, style of gardening.

For one thing, I like to leave my fall leaves in place to improve the soil. (On this subject, see Sarah’s “dead leaves” post from October 2006.) This fall, the leaves included a bumper crop of maple keys. Nuff said.

For another, I’m a big fan of volunteers. Not the kind of volunteers I’d like to lasso into helping me weed (strangely, children are impregnably resistant in this area). These volunteers are the self-seeders I encourage to do what comes naturally: the columbines, snowdrops, scillas, black-eyed susans, perennial geraniums, &c.

But this do-not-disturb attitude unfortunately also spills over into the borderline categories, such as the little patch of (cute) wild fleabane that’s threatening to nudge out my expensive foamflower (Tiarella, today’s covergirl). So, add baby fleabane to the weeding list.

But my biggest fault is a general state of denial. Can you admit to a state of denial? Does that cancel it out? Alas, no.

Though my conscious mind is aware of my idiocy, I still, even after 20+ years in the same garden, can’t admit that it isn’t a moist English garden in full sun. I persist in the delusion that it is or that, if only I can buy the right plants, it can be. This is one of the biggest reasons I have become so adept at planticide.

Let me amend that delusion: A moist English garden in full sun… and large. Very large. Sarah’s one-acre country property would be crammed to the gills if I had planted my 20-years-worth of must-have purchases there rather than here. The unfortunate truth is that what looks like ample space in May is a jungle by July. The newcomers duke it out with the incumbents, and guess who most often wins.

It’s not like I don’t know better. I spent six years as a Master Gardener, for heaven’s sake.

It’s a compulsion, I’m ready to admit it. What I need is some enforcement: plant police. Let them be there when I stagger from Connoisseur’s Corner at Humber Nurseries in a week or two with a cartload of new introductions, saying, “Ma’am, put down the plants. Easy now. Just step away from the check out.”

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