My Scorched Earth Policy

Bermuda grass. It’s the bane of my existence. Once, while looking for yet another solution to my bermuda problem, I read a comment on Apartment Therapy where some poor woman had laid thick black plastic on it to solarize it. She dug it out by hand. She poured horticultural strength vinegar on it and left it to shrivel in the sun. She even tried Round-up, though it went against her every belief. All of this was to no avail. Then I realized that the person who had written that comment was me, three years ago.

For my birthday last year, I received a new weapon to wage war against bermuda grass. It’s not for everyone, because it really is a weapon.

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Operation Passalong

Passalong plants are handed from one gardener to another, and they’re my favorite kind. It generally means that they’re resilient enough to take the Texas weather and they’ll thrive enough that someone has to actually get rid of them. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of dollars I’ve lost when my expensive Japanese aralias, hostas, heuchera, and hellebores have succumbed to drought. But all of the passalongs I’ve received are doing just fine. (Except for the ferns I plucked from my aunt’s house in Houston; it’s just not humid enough for them here.)

Texas is pretty dreadful for the type of gardens I prefer, but there is one flower that likes it here: irises. I’ve been daydreaming about a pathway lined with irises for about six months now, so I devised a little trick to get some for free. This works well for anything that you’d like to get for free, actually…

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Rite of Spring

FINALLY. I can enjoy my garden again.

I never, ever could have predicted I would be the type of person who liked plants. Forced to water boring planters full of impatiens and pansies growing up, I thought that’s all there was. Then I went to England, and discovered peonies, bluebells, lily of the valley, primroses, delphinium, larkspur, hollyhocks, and so on. Most of these things don’t do well in Texas, so I make do with those that will and find substitutes for others. These are from one of my daily walks around the garden while the weather is still pleasant enough to do it.

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Victory Garden

Tomato plants from the feed store: $7.86

Compost and amendments to plant them in: I don’t even want to think about it.

It’s been about two years since we last successfully planted a vegetable garden. The year before last I decided to do away with conspicuous raised beds and incorporate the tomatoes and onions inteo our existing landscape. After all, the beds are full of expensive organic compost, so it should work. And it should be very French, on top of it. It didn’t work. Nor did it look at all French.

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