This was my front flower bed at 9am this morning. Grass has always been a challenge in this bed. I’ve fought with it for years, never quite able to eradicate it because I was reluctant to really dig up the bed for fear of hurting hidden spring bulbs. Then I had two or three summers where I did very little gardening. The grass began to win and this year there were no spring blooms. I decided it was time to take a shovel and dig everything up. When I began digging, my hope was to dig it out and buy some flowers to plant to make things pretty. Within a few minutes I could tell that the grass was so pervasive and wide-spread that the only chance I had to really get rid of it is if I employ a bare earth policy. I need to dig up this bed every few weeks all summer long to be able to find all the hidden grass and morning glory roots.
Step one is mostly complete.
You can see that I left the peonies, a couple of day lilies and some flax down at the end near the rock. These are good strong perennials and they are the basis for the flower bed that this will become. For this year they’ll just sit there surrounded by dirt. If I succeed in my war of attrition on the grass, then when cool weather arrives in the fall, I will plant some more perennials. I have all summer to think about which ones I want.
As I was digging, I thought about this bare earth approach in other areas of my life. There is often a stage in creating something beautiful that is downright ugly and a whole lot of work. Last year was a bare earth year for our family as we cleared away lots of mess and reconfigured some relationships. This year the kids are poised to bloom. Right now my novel is in a bare earth phase. I’m just working and it feels like there is no way that it can ever be a thing of beauty. But sometimes it takes a summer of digging weeds before there can be a summer of flowers.
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