I’m a Pacifist Waging War

No negotiating. No ceasefire. No UN observers thank you very much.  For nearly twenty years I have been locked in a struggle over territory. A variety of invaders have questioned my border’s right to exist. I’m talking mugwort, Canadian goldenrod, switch grass, pineapple mint.

Do you know these terrorists? They should be on the FBI most wanted list for destruction of perfectly lovely perennial beds, meadows and prairies. The CIA should be listening for their underground activity instead of spying on the Senate. Where are the embedded journalists wearing combat gear? Where is the Tea Party outrage over the breach of this border by juvenile invasives? Where is the open carry crowd when I need them? (Shopping at Target no doubt).

I have, at various times, double dug this inherited perennial bed to a depth of two feet, sprayed with RoundUp, covered the bed with layers of cardboard and mulch, used fabric weed blocker and tried to drown the invaders with my tears. (OK, I had other people do the horrible task of double digging up rhizomes as thick as your thumbs and I couldn’t generate enough salty tears to kill one dandelion). Nothing has worked.

Oh, I’ll get a year or two of optimism during which I invest in many new plants and delude myself into thinking that this time, for sure, I will have a manageable plot. And then, a vacation at the wrong time, or an unusual weather spell in the winter (or the spring or the summer or the fall) and BOOM. The next dastardly marauder takes hold.

Some have just been dormant — like naughty two year olds waiting for my inattention — ready to stage a full-scale tantrum in the midst of my shocked and awed blooming plants of choice. Some have been seeded by pooping birds dropping them, like cluster bombs, between the lilies. Some have been smuggled in by perfectly innocent looking topsoil, mulch or expensive nursery plants in pots. And, fool that I was, I planted ONE tiny pineapple mint plant two decades ago.

I’m going to tackle this thing full on (again). I’ve cut the offensive plants down to two or three inch stalks. If it ever rains again I will dig up as many rhizomes as I can. I will use glysophate on whatever has the temerity to sprout between now and the end of September. Then, before I go away on vacation and thus giving the little bastards time to regroup, I will once again put down three layers of cardboard covered by three inches of mulch.

Next spring I will not make the mistake of thinking the war won. I will rinse and repeat the steps mentioned above and NOT PLANT ANYTHING VALUABLE ALL SUMMER IN THAT BED.

And if, by the end of 2015 the problem isn’t solved, I will take out the entire $#%*ing bed and put down sod. Which, by the way, might be the only patch of actual grass that I have in my “lawn” since I refuse to use weed and feed, or preen, or any other chemicals on my turf, vegetable beds, woodland garden or the perennial beds near my front gate. I garden organically, pull endless weeds with my own two hands, and try to be a good person. Now you can see why I’m a little bit alarmed by the aggression that this situation brings out in me. But my garden is my baby, and no unwanted, allergy inducing, greedy territorial usurper puts baby in a corner!

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