If Jack-in-the-Pulpits are any indication, my yard is a veritable vegetation revival! Nothing in the bulletin tells what the message is. They’ve popped up in the front, the back, the side lawns. They’ve out hustled even the ferns. They’ve beaten the trilliums, hands down. Wonder what got into them all of a sudden. Maybe the ferocious cold that knocked off a bunch of the other stuff (at least one azalea, a rhododendron, my “Little Henry”—Itea virginica—Virginia sweetspire, and who knows what else), has inspired the Jacks to new homiletic heights. “Preach now!” I say.
Anyway, aside from letting the lawn get to near baling-height, I really have been out there putting in new stuff and trying to root out—literally– some of the unwanted stuff that has shown up. I even spent time the other day over at the village maintenance building—after supervising the bridge reconstruction(How do those people manage without me?)—pulling out some of that invasive garlic mustard down along the creek. There are places along there that are just a tad too steep for a refined type who will never see early middle age again but I did cause quite a lot of it to turn up little green toes and, presumably, die…we can only hope.
In my own patch, I’ve been digging out Sweet Violets. They were an effort to cover up the ugly foundation of the old garage which must have been built somewhere in the late nineteen twenties or thirties ( I haven’t asked next-door neighbor John whose grandma lived in this house when it was first built. She must have been a martyr)because it was only about as long as a Model A and had been added on to so as to accommodate a Nash Rambler or something. The foundation, such as it was, featured refractory brick rejects from Harbison-Walker and a near-immortal forsythia bush and all of its relatives. I thought violets would cover a multitude of sins and, besides, there’s that song, “Sweet Violets” that Dinah Shore—among others—recorded (Sweet violets, Sweeter than all the roses, Covered all over from head to toe, Covered all over with Sweet Violets)in 1951. Not that a mere slip of a girl that I was at that time would remember. A slightly raunchy version used to be sung on athletic team buses(girls’ teams…boys don’t sing stuff like this on buses) and it stuck in my mind, O.K.? Be that as it may, when the new garage arrived and the addition to the house went up, dirt moved everywhere; I figured that that greenery was a goner and we’d start from scratch. WRONG.
The violets showed up unannounced and proceeded to make a nuisance of themselves. They’re NOT your usual “shrinking violet”. THOSE violets are just fine with me. The new guys have variegated leaves and they smell bad. Variegation I can countenance, the smell bad part, not so much. So they’ve been relegated to a patch on the east side where something is needed to anchor the slope and crowd out the really weedy weeds, invasives and such. The only thing that keeps them from sneaking back to their old haunts is to go after them with a trowel and take out as much root (They’re all interconnected) as possible. Makes your hands smell bad.
The forsythia is resurrected as well but is so far under control.
Meanwhile, I’ve been plugging in some new plants, several of which I’ve never heard of or seen before, Tricyrtis Tojen and Tricyrtis Blue Wonder, for example. Guaranteed to grow, it says on the package. We’ll see about that. It also says partial to full shade, which is just about all of my yard, especially in the back, and it says blooms late summer. That makes them good to fill in between the tulips and the fall foliage. All too often there’s kind of a lull when there’s nothing but green…which IS good but kind of boring. The pictures on the packages make the blooms look almost orchid-like. Whoa! This is going to be big time competition for the Spring Beauties and the mystery flowers that look like disappointed tulips.
I bought some Lady’s Mantle at the Garden Club plant sale. One of the reference sites called it Alchemilla mollis and one called it Alchemilla vulgaris; both of them said that it had medicinal properties but neither one was real specific about what it was supposed to be good for(Maybe the vulgaris part was a clue). Hang-overs? Toothache? Female troubles (Aren’t they men?)? Anyway, it should have chartreuse flowers and perk up a boring spot.
My tomato plant looks promising.
The Eastern Wahooo that I got from the PCSWCD looks to be doing fine; the witch hazel should make it; the sassafras and Carolina beautyberry may soon be receiving last rites. This “back-to-nature” bent can get kind of complicated. The birds had just better appreciate the effort here next winter.
And speaking of birds…. DO NOT kiss your chickens. The CDC indicates that this practice seems to have been the source of a number of outbreaks of Salmonella across the country, particularly in small-time ,backyard flocks (Perdue doesn’t kiss its chickens, I’ll bet…I sure wouldn’t).
Do chickens have lips?