Monday, July 16, 2012

Why I am a bad person 2.0

It's time to come clean. I've committed a crime against nature. And I am prepared to bare my soul before God and blogkind.

I've killed off -- or severely maimed -- about 10 percent of the perennials (and that's A LOT) growing in the Back Forty.

Welcome to my very own personal Super Fund site
There I've said it. And here's how I did it:

I've always had a somewhat laissez faire attitude about the clumps of invasive grass that inevitably pop up in my flowerbeds. I never used herbicides and pesticides given the high volume of dogs, cats and boys constantly foraging in the garden for lost soccer balls and other treasures.I nstead, somewhat half-heartedly, I'd pull out the most obnoxiously visible offenders, but generally, if they didn't take up too much perennial territory, I'd look the other way and pretend they weren't there.

Not this spring. Nope. Not this spring.

Now that The Numbers are grown, Toby and K.C. long dispatched to The Great Cat Box in Sky, and Ben quite satisfied to spend his hours in the Back Forty napping in clover, I got a burr up my patoot and declared war on the invasive and grass and weeds riddling my perennial gardens.
Ben: Is this where I say, "I told you so?"
Me: Yes
For several weekends and evenings in early spring, armed with a hand weeder and bottle of weed and grass killer, I went at those suckers like a mad woman. My beds were soon beautiful, weed and grass free.

And then. . . .

Let me first just say: I could have sworn I checked the label of the bottle first and it said, "Not harmful to annual and perennial flowering plants."

As we slowly crept toward summer, when we really take time to enjoy The Back Forty, I watched with smug satsifaction as the invasive intruders shrivelled, turned brown and died, now a cinch to pull out. And then it happened. First a die-off of sweet woodruff, then the columbines. The always sturdy stems of my "Autumn Joy" sedum, one by one, slowly dropped to the ground and gave up the ghost. My lovely caramel-colored coral bells are struggling,
and the tarragon, with its lovely licorice-y fragrance, is, well, gone.  Even the nasturiums I planted, which thrive in the nastiest of conditions, are having second thoughts this season.

Obviously, the label did NOT read "Not harmful to annual and perennial flowering plants" as I thought.

I am not happy with myself.

But we soldier on. I will NOT use herbicides or pesticides ever again. Lesson learned on that front.

I WILL re-visit and embrace my inner laissez faire attitude toward weeds and invasive  grass.  It has stood me good stead over the years.

And I WILL rehab my dirt version of Love Canal so even the nasturiums will bloom next year.


  1. Yikes! I know I am mocked by many people because I pull weeds by hand - I refuse to use chemicals although I have been tempted many times to try it. Your story is a good lesson in what can go wrong with them! Hopefully next year your beautiful flowers will return!

  2. Killer. I'm going to report you to the Vegetarian Board.

    Apart from that, I love the name Great Catbox In The Sky!