Last-Minute Chores

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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  1. Gardnlady says:

    Kevin, I can't believe the mushrooms this year! They are even growing in full sun, in the middle of my yard. I assume they are poisonous…

  2. I'm looking foward to Saturday… Lets hope Mother Nature keeps the skies sunny and dry.

  3. Gardenlady – Yes, those mushrooms are probably poisonous.

    Erin – I'm hoping for sunny and dry too — the rain has really pummeled the roses! See you Saturday – rain OR shine, I hope!

  4. Kevin, your New Dawn rose is enormous! How old is it?

  5. Shannon says:

    I'm confused… are mushrooms bad for the garden somehow?

  6. Shannon – I don't think mushrooms are bad for the garden. Some are quite beautiful. But when a huge cluster appears in the center of a garden path, or emerges in a tidy perennial bed, their effect is same as weeds. So out they go.

    And — would you believe I discovered morels (expensive edible mushrooms) this week in my woodland garden? I probably won't eat them, but I'll certainly photograph them.

  7. Robin Chapman Tucker says:

    I am a late comer to this “article”. I hope you might remind people with puppies/dogs that mushrooms and toadstools can be absolutely DEADLY to their animals..and they are very curious and apt to sample. Just because they are poison, does not mean they are not tasty! When it is “that time of year” when the fungi are common, I ALWAYS check outside, before I open the dog door and let my “girls” go out. There is not much the vet can do, should they ingest a mushroom! I pull them up by the roots and dispose of them in a plastic bag. I thing your friends idea of pouring vinegar on the spot might help keep more from erupting.

  8. Can and will you provide a list of eatable weed in lawns?

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