This winter will be one to forget. One week following Jonas’ departure, I was stricken with an UR infection that knocked me off my feet and took two antibiotics to cure. Bedridden for most of one full week rendered me weak as a kitten for another ten days; I just now feel remnants of my former self.
During my convalescence, I had plenty of time to gaze out the windows into the barren, winter landscape. This time of year, the bones of garden reveal the structure and textures rarely appreciated during the growing season. Allowing my eye to peruse spaces, I made mental notes of necessary edits to come.
During February, one annual garden chore includes removing the past season’s leaves of many hellebore, or Lenten Roses that happily reside here. A hand and knee or squatting proposition, this chore was a good test of my weakened stamina. Last week’s effort found me trembling after merely one hour of task.
The other necessary garden chore I faced this week was bolstered by an additional week bed rest. In August of 2014, I installed five 3″ pots of Rubus pentalobus, or Creeping Bramble. At the garden center, they appeared innocent enough sporting attractive, compact, deep green, evergreen foliage, small flowers, and tiny raspberry fruits. Additionally the tag boasted the benefit of being drought tolerant. Good candidate for the remaining slopes that tend to erode while providing tasty late fall food for the wee birds…I thought.
Rubus pentalobus or Creeping Bramble
These plants settled well and then I noticed an aggressive growth pattern within the first year. Clearly this perfect groundcover was becoming a garden thug.
This is one plant twelve months after installation…from a 3″ pot! The plant tag failed to mention that Rubus suckers…big time!
Following a hearty breakfast, I headed out in sunny 40F temps to begin the task. Armed with a wheelbarrow, digging fork, knee pads, and hatchet, I silently coached myself…I can do this!
One hour later, breathless, I had the wheelbarrow filled to overflowing. Pliers were necessary to yank out roots that were over a foot long, headed straight down. Where is my garden helper when I need him?
Rather than exhaust myself completely, I returned my tools to the shed, left the barrow sit, and headed indoors to recuperate. The next day I would return to complete the entire removal.
As it was, the next day was warmer and the winter sun felt delightful on my winter-pale face. 1.5 hours later, I successfully removed the last bits of this plant horridus. Now I must face the remaining three patches of Rubus on the front slope. One day at a time…
In the meantime, my heirloom daffodils are showing up in good stand. I added 150 additional heirloom varieties last fall to my old veggie raised beds, and so look forward to my new life as a peony/daffodil/iris farmer! Out with the invasives, garden thugs, and insect infested plants. I will only permit a pleasant garden experience here. Life is too short to invest precious time with energy sucking plant material ~ this revelation has only taken thirty years to formulate…sharing is education.
A newly acquired heirloom crocus…its tendency to multiply is welcomed here. A delight in this winter garden.
If you would like to see a preview of my spring gardens, please use the search bar in the left-hand column using the words spring or flowers or notice and click on the related posts at the bottom of this post.
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