New Neighbors ‘Round the Weed Garden



Warm sunny day so the SWMBO has a honey-do list.

This winter past was unnaturally cold (for Georgia) and many of our ornamental shrubs and dwarf trees didn’t make it; most notably two fifteen year old gardenia bushes.  Each was four feet by four feet by four feet, a thick tangle of branches stripped of their leaves and brittle like old bones.

I cut back the branches to gain access to the roots.  I was set to unearth a shrub that had brought such pleasure.  Have you ever been near a gardenia bush when it is in full bloom?  These bushes were growing under the two windows in our living room, there was honey suckle growing under the kitchen window, I mean who needs Fabreeze.

Buzzing round my head were a dozen or so bumble bees.  There was not a flower to be found in all the yard, nothing was blooming in the weed garden and that was fifty feet away.  I greeted them, hospitably, and excused myself as I must finish my tasks if I hoped to survive the night (the SWMBO writes her honey-do lists in blood, mine).

One young and rather pleasant bee suspended itself not three inches from my nose, as only a bumble bee can, and when he was certain he had my undivided attention, he dropped to the ground and walked on a small piece of unearthed root.  He took to flight once more, circling the hairy twig then four of his companions joined in.

When they were certain that I got the message, they flew in mass to another branch lying on the grass and repeated their method of messaging.

The SWMBO had other plans for the garden under the window and gardenias were no part of it, but bumble bees and butterflies only talk to fairies and fools and I was sure I got the message.  Today, there are two small gardens, one above and one beside the weed garden, each contains a twig blessed by bumble bees.

And if there was any doubt that there would be gardenias once more to perfume the air as I take my morning coffee; as I watered the new arrivals; a small blue butterfly rested on each new mound and then flew directly to my mud laden boots and then to the brim of my old straw hat, flapping her wings as if to cool me.

It’s going to be a wonderful time at the weed garden; the SWMBO wants me to dig up the crepe myrtle and get rid of it, it died…I went to the little dwarf and it almost giggled as it unfolded a few new leaves.  The weed garden is going to be a wonderment.  Well…its always been a delight to me.


Weed Garden


I love my weed garden (there is not a single cannabis plant to be found).  I am the only human in the house that shares this sentiment.

Over the years I have planted trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials around the house and throughout the yard.  Digging here is much like anywhere in Georgia; there is red clay and there are rocks, rocks of every size, shape and mineral imaginable.  The rocks went into a pile; I called it, my pile of rocks.

On one particularly hot summer day, four years ago, I envisioned a rustic rock wall, along the culvert that made an eight foot deep cut into the little hill that is my back yard.  The culvert runs for about a hundred feet before sliding into the five foot diameter drainage pipe beneath the lane.

It was an ambitious plan and after careful thought and a chilled beverage, I scaled back my vision of a wall to about twelve feet.  Even so, it was still a lot of rocks to move.

As happens with many of my visions, things changed.  The wall I envisioned moved from the top of the hill; I carved instead into the bank and stacked the stones.

Just beyond the top of the wall was every imaginable natural, wild growth to be found in Georgia.  One year the rains carried blackberries, blackberries that grew in grand proliferation; to the delight of the neighbor’s children as they approached the brambles with buckets and visions of jams and pies.  The storms came and as storms are want to do, they brought change; the blackberries were soon replaced with fragrant honeysuckle (and poison oak, not the best year).

It was that year of the ‘fragrant itch’, in late spring the wall evolved, into a garden.  The pile of rocks all but disappeared and became three small, terraced sections, bordered by rough stone walls.  Taken as a whole, the garden was shaped like a leaf.

I turned the earth, that wonderful Georgia red clay, and added fresh soil and turned it again.  I planted… wild flowers. In a few short weeks, tall, gangly green plants had pushed through the soil and raised their heads of yellow, orange, blue and red to the summer sky; and then the fun started.  Bumble bees from three counties took up residence, along with a host of butterflies and by early July, the humming birds.

I took to having my morning coffee; sitting on the wet grass beside the garden, the new inhabitants took little or no notice of me even the feral gerbils that had burrowed their way in (chipmunks).

Today, once again, the SWMBO, informed me that the garden, like my unkempt hair was “unbecoming” and had to go.  One is going all too fast on its own, the other…not by my hand, if however she wished to disassemble it…

As it is every Spring Season, the garden is overrun with weeds and leaves from the old sycamore that had at last surrendered to the assaults of wind and lightening.  Vines of various types had worked their way up from the culvert and through the cracks in the wall; some moved the stone in sections and that part of the wall would be redone and others anchored the stones in place, like a living thing.

Familiar earth, rich and black, turning easily, as a familiar shovel blade cut into it, weeds give up their hold, for a season.  Soon I’ll sit quietly in the grass and listen to the sweet music from my little weed garden.  And I’ll smile, a lot.

Peace out, pilgrimsImageImageImage