UH OH — two days before the garden tour, and my Rosa ‘New Dawn’ is misbehaving. This exuberant pink climber, which marks the entrance to the Woodland Garden, has sent long, thorny canes over its iron arbor, making the arbor look like an obstacle — not an opening. What am I to do — tell visitors to duck as they enter the woodland? No, it’s time to get out the ladder and twine, and attempt to set things right again. And here are other urgent chores on my roster today, all of them involving plants who’ve behaved badly:
Remove Suckers. When my back was turned, Malus ‘Royalty,’ the ruby-leaved crabapple tree in the Serpentine Garden, sprouted a slew of suckers. Suckers rob the parent plant of health and vigor, and thus should never be allowed to grow. Sharp pruning shears are the best remedy.
Pull Weeds. Always a nuisance are the weeds that flourish in places I seldom see, like the north side of the garden shed. Already this morning I’ve pulled enough “volunteers” to fill a wheelbarrow. Some gardeners find weeding a soothing, even meditative job. I’m not one of them.
Finish Off the Fungi. Then there are mushrooms popping up all over the place, more so this year than ever before. Do you have them in your garden, too? My friend Anne pours vinegar over such fungal growths. My system of mushroom-eradication is less sophisticated — I kick them over. With either method, the ‘shrooms soon wither and disappear.
An unruly rose, a suckering crabapple, wanton weeds, and weird, weird mushrooms — these are the trials to be dealt with today. What’s on your list of garden chores?
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