Empty pots and rich dark soil and an invasion!

It is now late in the afternoon and the clouds are drifting in. The warmth of the day is fading and the rain will be here later this evening. My hands and back ache as the weather shifts but more so they feel the effects of the days work. The morning opened with full sun and 50 degrees. This is early for April in Minnesota. It is a wonder. (we even slept with a window open just a little bit last night)

After my 2 mile walk with the sun and birds I returned home to a garden in need of a great deal of work. Last summer and fall the garden was left to tend to its self. Which it did nicely. There were leaves, wild grass, weeds and the dead remains of last years plants waiting for me. Some of this mess was left on purpose to allow the insects, bugs and critters a place to over winter. The weeds and grass were not. So I worked my way through – finding crocus sprouting, daffodils emerging and Chrysanthemums.

Lovely but the Chrysanthemums it appears are invasive. The word invasive meaning they tend to spread. Who knew!?

I use to get a nice pot of Mums each fall to sit on the front steps. Then just before things turn cold I would plant them in the garden. Clever me, I thought. Now I will have them next year without purchasing them. Great except they don’t stay in nice round mounds like you see in the store. They spread out – stretch their roots all along underground and pop up all over the garden. The first year they did this I thought great more yellow flowers for the fall. Last year when I was out of commission they took over. This spring they are popping up literally all over the garden. The Chrysanthemum roots have moved themselves in between the roots and bulbs of all the other plants.

Who is in charge of this garden anyway? It appears not I. At least until this morning. Several hours later one Chrysanthemum was completely dug out. Two more were trimmed back in to what I hope is a more controlled growth. The leaves and wild grass are gone and some Poppy seeds were planted. The crocus are happily growing if I can keep the squirrels from getting in there to play in the fresh loose soil.

The dry root Dahlias, Begonias and Elephant Ears have been planted in pots to begin an early growth. They will go into the ground in May when the soil and air temperatures are much warmer. A few African Daisy plants and leeks were repotted to give them room to spread their root systems also awaiting the warmth of May.

Then there is the tray that look a bit like a grave yard – tiny white markers popping up in the bare soil. This grave looking tray is really full of spring promise. It is the newly planted seeds for the tomato and pepper crop for about five families. These seeds will sprout in the next week. They will then grow their true leaves and I will transfer them to larger pots. In May they will be passed on to family members to grow in their own gardens.

But for now I sit tired, a bit ache and happy of heart to see the rich dark soil, spring bulbs in flower and dirty fingernails.

Another garden season has begun! Hello April!

The green you see within the Crocus are the Chrysanthemums that think it is there right to take over the garden. We will see who wins this summer!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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