As the days turn warmer, ahem . . . except for this flash freeze for Tax Day in the Midwest . . . I find myself looking to the world outside to renew my writing life.
I am eager to get my garden started. Since we were forced to cut down three trees in our small yard-two due to death, and one due to an 8 foot split down the narrow trunk that would eventually send one half crashing into the house-we now have ample sunlight to raise a fairly substantial vegetable patch. Two 8×4 raised beds are occupying the narrow side yard, one with soil in place, the other still empty. A plethora of seeds and seedlings await their permanent homes to begin the cycle of growth and eventual harvest.
Happily, most of my perennial herbs in the shady back garden are greening up, including oregano, chives, thyme, parsley, and the creeping mint that is sprouting up in various places feet away from the original planting. I look forward to fresh mint for my adult beverages later in May. A few others are waiting to show signs of life-the bee balm, rosemary and lavender. Our herbs were the most successful they’ve ever been in the limestone framed plot.
Ever since we moved into this house eight years ago, I’ve been at war with the poison ivy vines, vestiges of the formerly wild stand of trees that covered the undeveloped plot. Our townhouse was brand new when we moved in, but the builders had managed to keep several mature trees along the border of the property, providing the benefit of ample shade to the house in summer, but also bringing the detriment of pervasive weeds. For the most part, and with some bouts of extreme itchiness in the beginning, I have exterminated the majority of the ivy on the property. I continue a battle with what attempts to come through the fence from the back-neighbor, who refuses to care for the rear six feet of their property, seeing as how it used to butt against the wild wood. These neighbors, whom I’ve never met and rarely seen, are a topic of another discussion entirely for some rather odd practices I’ve witnessed in the last several years.
Among the weeds encroaching on my garden is a nasty, thorny, broad-leafed vine that literally grows 3 inches or more per day in the summer. It gets its start as soon as the weather warms up to 50 degrees, so the vines are already lacing through the fence on both sides. I have no idea what the species of plant is, nor even a common name. I can’t find it in any field guide. I am certain it isn’t native to Kansas and is an invasive species that I have tried numerous times to eradicate, with no avail. The roots are deep in the thick, sticky clay soil of my lot, making it nearly impossible to dig out. I’ve poured on herbicides both organic and chemical. My only recourse is to continually prune the plant back to the ground and set a rock on top to force it to grow in a different directions.
This plant gives me the idea to write a story rather gruesome, of a woman fed up with her neighbors and a plant that can be trained to make it’s way into their home at night. Not an alien plant, as in Little Shop of Horrors, just an annoying thorny vine with a little extra fertilizer and carefully placed twine.
Putting that dark little fantasy aside, I continue to look to the new growth in both the external and internal. I look forward to watching my garden grow.