Fighting the Beasts

Spring has hit full blown in Minnesota. It took awhile to get here but here it is. The trees are leafing out in record speed. The flowers are popping quickly and it only took a couple days for spinach and lettuce seeds to sprout along side the radishes.

The days of walking through snow and ice are gone leaving sun and 86 degree temperatures in their wake. It also has left the beasts of summer to struggle with. I am not complaining here just stating facts.

The first round of beasts are of the animal variety. The cute not so little rabbits that seem to be acting like they are starving. ( but they are not – they are huge) They are eating any green growing thing they see. NO – wait, let me state that correctly. They are eating any green plant I have planted and am waiting to flower. The other green plants – those things we call weeds – are not being touched.

IMG_5683.jpgI left my garden last fall in a state of dying. I did not do my usual heavy duty clean up thinking it best to leave seed pods and plants for the animals during the winter. Well, we will not be doing that again. The only animal that took advantage of that was the rabbits. They ate most of the cultivated plants down to the ground leaving the weeds with space to grow and expand.  So now I have spend several days just working to clear out the first 1/4 of the perennial bed. I have pulled the weeds and roots out and mulch but the “rabbit beasts” think I am just making it easier for them to find the high quality greens – my flowers! (Note the photo – look closely – the tulip is hiding in the Lilac bush but the rabbits still ate most of its leaves.)

The other beasts are those weeds the rabbits will not eat! They are invasive – things like Creeping Charlie with the pretty purple flowers and the long running roots that quickly cover the ground even when there is snow and frost around.

There is another lovely green weed ( I have not ID’d it yet so do not have a name for it yet) with under ground roots that vine plus have a large tap root on the mother plant. This little thing has a bright white root that if you leave any of it behind it will sprout a new plant for you in a few days. Amazing and madding all at the same time.

As a beginning botanist I find these “weed beast” fascinating. The fact that they have cells in their roots that can create a new plant from a very small root piece is amazing. The fact that these beast have cells that can change jobs to help the plant survive, that it has created a bitter taste or toxic substance so the critters won’t eat it is stunning.

However, as a gardener who is working to have a mildly cultured garden it is driving me downloadcrazy. Today I worked for three hours before the lovely spring rains came just digging weeds out from around the plants I want to save. I did not get far before I turned around to see Mr and Mrs Rabbit sitting waiting for me to move so they could have a mid IMG_5685.jpgmorning snack.

 

Needless to say they did not get their snack this morning for I gave chase stumbling over tools and my garden basket determined to prove to them that this was not their buffet!

And so the gardening season begins! I can be frustrated, and at times a bit angry at those beasts as we battle our way through the warm seasons but it is a battle I am not willing to give up. I am never going to really win this fight. I know this! There will always be more weeds and more rabbits but it is worth it to me to spend time with my hands in the soil, fresh air to breath and occasionally a few flowers for me to soak in the bright colors and enjoy this amazing world we live in.

 

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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3 Responses to Fighting the Beasts

  1. Trina Haase says:

    Your garden still looks beautiful-beasts and all! I so much to still clear out of the yard/garden, but I love taking away the dead leaves and twigs to find new life below.

  2. mgminer says:

    Where I live, there are no more rabbits. Sometimes I long to see one at twilight, what I used to call “bunny time.” But I can empathize with you – we sadly surrendered our vegetable garden to the deer and squirrels.

  3. I feel for you! As much as I love wildlife, it can be infuriating… I am constantly fighting the evil squirrels who raid my balcony garden and devour everything, including the woody part of berry bushes! So far my only solutions have been bird netting and bribes…

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