I’m no acrobat, but when it comes to weeding, I should be. A year ago, I agreed to have a local garden club tour my garden in mid-June. That, of course, meant weeding, weeding, weeding. Our bark-chip mulch had long ago decomposed, enhancing the soil and making perfect growing conditions for weeds of every kind among my trees, shrubs and groundcover swaths. I had trained myself not to notice, but with visitors scheduled to tour the premises, I could no longer ignore those unwelcome plants. Add to that a new patio projecting into the park-like bed design, and I actually wanted to weed. In addition, I was so excited about the garden that I planned a garden open-house for neighbors and two outdoor dinner parties that same week. The garden had to look good.
Anyway, weeding in a squat agrees with me, as does weeding on my knees, but when it comes to standing, bending, and pulling weeds, forget it. Yet, what else can I do in an entry bed invaded by soapwort (Saponaria officinalis), also known by the charming moniker bouncingbet. As you can see in the photo, this European native grows all through my daylilies (Hemerocallis) and sea holly (Eryngium), and covers the arid space in front of the stone wall over the culvert. Do I care that squooshed leaves lather up, making a gentle soap for delicates, or that the 1-inch flowers are a pretty pale pink right now? No. I just want this 30-inch-high monster out of my garden. Man oh man, that plant is at the top of my frustrating invasives list. No matter how much you pull out, more will grow from tiny leftover chunks of its creeping rootstock. It also self-sows with abandon.
So I weeded and weeded. Bouncingbet is still growing furiously, and I’m in physical therapy for an achy back. But it was worth it for one glorious week, when my garden looked as perfect as it ever has. I revel in the memory and keep frolicking with eyes wide shut, now that the weeds are back.