My parents have a sickness. They like to visit gardens when they go places. Then they come home filled with all kinds of wild eyed notions about having a civilized garden of their own. The past two years they have had season passes to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. I dread when they go there.
Every time they come back from there they start a new garden. This one will be civilized they say. Instead of completely civilizing any part of the over two acres of garden they already have, they make another one from scratch.
I may have casually mentioned it would be nice to landscape around the old chimney and the next thing you know my 82 old mother whips out the Roundup and my 81 year old father with a new knee put in in April breaks out the chainsaw. As you might imagine an endeavour of this sort requires assistance from the assistant gardener.
Dr. Hortfreud I have concerns.
Even with a new assistant gardener on staff, these new civilized gardens to be always end up looking like exuberant chaos in the end. Reckless seed flinging and regular naps don't allow for an adequate amount of editing. Only now is the concept of mulching being put into practice and I am afraid it is really too late for that to even help much.
They have a sickness. Plenty isn't enough when it comes to plants or flowers. They always need more. And each new garden is going to be the civilized one.
Just last month this low hill behind the vegetable garden was covered with hundreds of blooming daylilies. It was filled with all kinds of wildflowers too because you can't weed them out until they are done blooming. That wasn't enough.
The far end of the low hill was full of Lorelei iris that have grown out of favor because they are so prolific. They were all dug out to make room for more daylilies. New ones from the catalogs of course. You have to have different ones than what you already have.
The assistant gardener started weeding what was left after the iris were dug to prevent the use of Roundup near his ripening corn. Collateral damage is a know occurrence in these parts.
Dr. Hortfreud, you can see it is a challenge for the assistant gardener to keep up with these 80 year old gardeners with this sickness. The assistant knows all to well it will all end up looking something like this.
Is there a certain age or certain signs one should look for that tell you it is time to revoke your parents gardening privileges? Thank you for any light and/or raindrops you can shed on this matter.
Concerned Son and
Very Popular Assistant Gardener