May 17 in the Garden: Defining the Edges as I Consult the Genius of the Place


Edging is  not my favorite garden chore, especially when the ground is as dry as it’s been these past weeks. My Preferred Method: line up the edger, push as hard as I can, and when met with resistance—by the thatch that seems to be everywhere in the back yard—jump on the edger to push through the matted sod. My edging is inferior to my son’s work, but he’s working till 11 PM so I’m on my own. My husband comes behind me and rakes up the pieces of sod, grass, stones that I trail behind me as I work my way around the large circular garden and up the hill.

I get sidetracked by the evening primrose, which each year mount an assault on the other perennials. No matter how many I yank up by their roots, the primrose find all available real estate and spread out around and within the marguerites, the Montauk daisies, the lupine, the iris. The proper roses could take a lesson from these invasive, fuzzy –leaved primroses.

The best part of the afternoon is the mulching. This year I ordered two yards of rich brown pine bark mulch, dumped unceremoniously in the driveway, which means parking our cars on the street for a week while we whittle the pile down. By five o’clock, the pile is a flat circle about four inches high, so I sweep up what’s left and shovel it into plastic tubs and drag it into the garage.

There is more edging to be done in the gardens in front of the house, but not today. I hook up the sprinkler and turn on the water, delighting in the way the dampened mulch looks chocolate-brown against the green of the perennials—daylilies, sedum, lupine, columbine, hosta.

Next step: discouraging the deer and rabbits from lunching on some of this stuff. I start a checklist for tomorrow: deer away, hot sauce, eggs, Great Horned Owl statue, scare tape.


And the choreographer in me starts planning the steps for my rain dance.

2 thoughts on “May 17 in the Garden: Defining the Edges as I Consult the Genius of the Place

  1. I have loved reading your bloggings. To read your work is a treat. I think often of your tracing your cold, your work on your garden, your descriptions of Baltimore, your tribute to Gary K.


  2. You’ve a gorgeous new career. You are my favorite gardening writer, Lynne, and your work and determination are remarkable. If I manage to pick up a bouquet of flowers to stick into a vase, I feel proud of myself. I think I always loved primroses because they were yellow and everywhere. I didn’t realize they are bullies. I love the liveliness of your descriptions of your efforts and of the plants’ responses.


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