Garden Log 5/15/22

Even though I mostly enjoy puttering in the garden, there are some tasks even I don’t enjoy. Planting groundcover is one of them — it requires a sequence of slightly tedious steps, repeated:

– dig up weeds in the way
– plant little plugs of groundcover, spaced appropriately far from each other
– spread mulch (triple-milled hardwood) on the dirt around the groundcover, with the hope of retarding weed growth (and retaining moisture, and breaking down to improve the soil) until the groundcover has a chance to settle in and spread and do its job
– water it all in

I bought a flat of Scotch moss (not actually a moss!) a few weeks ago, but I’ve been avoiding dealing with it. Today’s a perfect planting day, though — relatively cool after a week of blasting heat, with some drizzle predicted later in the day, fingers crossed, and I had nothing else I *had* to do first, so I’ve run out of excuses.

And I *still* had to use a combination of carrot and stick to get myself to actually plant the dang things:

– first I finished reading the lovely book I’d been reading (McKillip’s Harpist in the Wind), over tea and breakfast (buttered toast with seeni sambol)
– then I still didn’t want to dig, so I played a silly phone game (Polytopia) for 20 minutes
– then I was getting annoyed with myself, so I took my tea and my kneeler and set everything up in the garden that I’d need — gloves and a large plastic trug for collecting the weeds and a sharp little trowel to dig them out
– and I still didn’t want to do it, but I ALSO have writing homework for my screenwriting class that I don’t want to do (I like writing, it’s my job, but there’s always some overcoming of resistance to getting started, even after 25 years of this, it’s ridiculous, and it’s worse with screenwriting, since that’s new and I have lots of anxiety about doing it wrong)…
– and I ALSO have something like three loads of clean laundry that need putting away today (my most hated indoor chore)
– so I told myself sternly that if I wasn’t going to plant the groundcover, I had to do either my screenwriting homework or put away laundry.

That was enough to get me to do it. I do have to do my screenwriting homework next, because it was actually due yesterday and I just failed to cope, but I can put it off a little longer while I write this post, so thank you all for that. People sometimes ask me how I get so much done, and the answer is mostly that since I have ADD, I tend to switch from task to task, and if I pile up a few tasks I don’t want to do, usually one of them sounds less awful than the others, and so I do it. 🙂

There’s also a little bit of good-for-the-planet in this, because one reason to plant a groundcover on this path is because the lily-of-the-valley patch (came with the house) started seriously encroaching on the path this year, and I’ve been wanting to at least reduce my lily-of-the-valley anyway, perhaps replacing it all eventually with a native groundcover like wild ginger.

I have a bit of a hard time with that decision, honestly, because I do love the scent, and I love the association with Mother’s Day, and the sweetness of giving it as a gift at that time, but on the other hand, there’s a gardening adage, “right plant, right place” and the right place for this plant is places like France, where it’s native, and not North America, and the birds do carry the seeds to natural areas and then it gets established there and crowds out natives, which is bad for the pollinators, and bad for the planet…

…so I guess this is my compromise for the moment — I’m digging it up slowly, replacing it with Scotch moss around the stepping stones (not native, as far as I can tell, but also not invasive; in fact, it’s going to take steady watering just to keep the Scotch moss alive long enough to get established, so fingers crossed) and probably native wild ginger on the borders. I’ll also keep planting perennials in there — those Spanish bluebells are clumped closer together than I’d like, so I’m going to dig one up, dig out some more lily-of-the-valley, and plant it there.

But I did salvage some of the lily-of-the-valley that I dug, cutting it for a vase in the powder room. When you open the door, the scent is gorgeous. Sigh. I’ll be a little sad if I ever get rid of it entirely, but hopefully I’ll find some natives (or at least non-invasives) that make me equally happy…

One flat done; I think I need three more to finish the paths, so that’ll require returning to the garden store (and where did I find the Scotch moss in the first place? I don’t remember, but I think it’s pretty readily available). Maybe next weekend. For now, homework. I don’t think I can put it off any longer…

… well, maybe after second breakfast.

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