Monday, June 28, 2010

Lily of the Valley

Awwww, Lily of the valley.  What a lovely plant with lovely little bell like flowers...  Um, yeah, not so much for me.  Lily of the valley has taken over a section of the garden to the point where they are so dense, that the little flowers they produce get smothered by other LOV plants, greatly diminishing its appeal.  I might have considered keeping the invasive bugger if the bunnies were attracted to them, but they seem to instinctively know that these delicate multipliers are poisonous.  So I have decided to thin them out... which is just gardener speak for "get rid of as many as I possibly can".
Being the novice gardener that I am, I googled some information about the best way to go about my task.  Of course there was no shortage of opinions.  There were those who were fans of the plant and simply couldn't stand the thought of someone destroying perfectly good specimens, offering to drive hundreds of miles to adopt any in need of a good home.. puhlease. Then there were those on the other extreme whose answer to any unwanted plant is hefty doses of Round-up.  While, I would love to adopt out all my orphaned plants, the reality is that there are too many of them and not enough of me.  Surely, I will make known to others that there are free pickin's at the parsonage and all are welcome, but for now let's just say there WILL be casualties.   As for the round up... it's like killing an ant with a bazooka.  Serious overkill, and frankly I don't want my soil ruined for any newcomers to the garden.   Somewhere nestled in the middle of these two extreme sides of debate lay my answer.

Humor me for a moment of gardening introspection and reflection:

 At the risk of sounding philosophically lame...why do we naturally seek out the easy answer?  Instant this, automatic that. When did we forget that there is value in the journey... in the work, sweat and effort?  We opt for labor saving devices...dishwashers, elevators, riding lawn mowers... then hop on our treadmills or spend an hour at the gym to get in our daily dose of exercise... huh?   It is here that the answer to my Lily of the Valley dilemma is found.
Allow me to set the scene: Me, a wheelbarrow, a pitchfork and my sheer will.  Certainly not the "easy" answer, but the answer which benefits me AND my garden the most.  For nearly 3 hours I poked at the LOV with my pitchfork.  I stabbed the soil, hoisted the roots, shook off the dirt and discarded them in the wheelbarrow to be hauled down to the compost pile.  Two wheelbarrow loads later, I called it quits.  I was literally soaked with sweat, filthy with soil, and bleeding from blisters.  My pitchfork didn't keep track of how many calories I'd burned and the wheelbarrow didn't know how many miles we had logged up and down the hill... but my body told me it had been a good workout.  Something tells me that my fight with the Lily of the Valley is far from over.  But that's okay, I need the exercise.  :)


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