5 August 2017

We can’t wait to get back to the Green

August is already here, although I have yet to hear the cicadas buzzing.

I’ve been tidying up after the summer’s overgrowth: The mint in the wildflower bed behind the bench had pretty much taken over.  I like mint; I like it a lot. I’ve been snipping it all summer to share with my neighbors. But it has blanketed the irises and strawberries and has plans to take over the whole bed. Remember the lovely wildflowers coming up from seed? They’ve been doing beautifully!

I don’t want that bed to be solid mint. So today I began to dig it out. Did I throw it away? No! Of course not! I dug it up by the roots and moved it to places where it will be less of a problem:


One of the plants I’m trying to encourage is the strawberries. I found some underneath the mint, quite invisible


Strawberries reproduce by sending out runners: skinny stems that may have several baby plants growing along each one. You can see the thread-like runners in the second picture above. With the mint gone they’ll stand a chance to spread into a nice, thick bed. And you can’t have too many strawberries!

There’s plenty of mint left, but you can see where I’ve dug some out:


The other thing we have too much of is lilies. Yes! Those gorgeous orange lilies! My friend Katherine, who gave them to me, visited the Green recently and said, shaking her head, “Do you know how those things reproduce?” “Yes,” I said. No wonder she had so many to give away!

Here’s what they do: while they’re blooming, little dark things grow along their stems.  See them? And then they drop off:

Every one of those little things is a bulb! And if it falls on soil – a whole new lily grows! Which is why:


They crowd everything out! When it rains they fall over and block the paths!

Yes, I am thinning out the lilies.  One nice surprise is that more hostas are going to bloom. I thought you’d missed them: all the flower stalks were empty.  But right next to them more hostas are just beginning to bud. So there will be flowers to greet you when you come back:

Those orange things in the background are the Italian arums making little bulbs where their flowers were (just like the lilies!). The hostas about to bloom are to the right of them. It’s hard to see the stalks, but they’re there.

Welcome back!