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Sunday, April 19, 2009

cleaning up

"Buttercups" oil by J. Mat Miller
The "good" wild buttercups

This week I decided to get outside to clean up the pampas grass that was dragging its feet all over the patio while I was busy elsewhere. Every gust of wind dislodged sharp edged blades, spewing them across the patio and down the stone steps, a danger to anything in its path. As I cut and cleaned I thought about the Spotted Tohwee that hung around this area and hoped I would not disturb a nest. I got carried away and after a half hour of pulling out the dead grasses and cutting the old flower stalks, I looked up to see right in front of my eyes a perfectly formed grassy nest with four fresh green and reddish brown mottled eggs. I quickly stepped back, grabbed some of the cut Pampas flower stalks and lodged them tightly in front of the nest hoping to return it to invisible. I prayed it would be protected and not abandoned because of me. Here I destroy what I should not.

Yet in the same week I recall that I keep what I should not. For a long time there was native buttercup in the shade by the long flower border and I left it there because I liked the delicate yellow flower. Someone mentioned to me that I should not have buttercup in the garden and I stated that it behaved itself and never went anywhere else. That was until the seed landed in the fertilized and watered garden, taking advantage of my business elsewhere and spreading very rapidly.

I don’t know if this was the same type as the former, they certainly behaved differently, but this Ranunculus repens L., an immigrant from Europe, has healed itself in. As hard as I tried to shovel it out, I couldn’t help cutting off roots which clung to the clayish soil and wouldn’t let loose. Slugs made their home in the leaf clusters and nodules sent out new shoots to make more plants. I read that seeds stay in the ground for years, waiting for opportunities to flourish and take over. Who knows what I have left behind for future invasion?


While I was busy elsewhere, it had taken over 8 feet of the front of the bed into the grass another three feet in places. I guess I need to be more diligent and watchful. Now between it and the bindweed, the other non native immigrant, I have to destroy the lawn and lay waste the border for a season, taking plants out to put in pots and poisoning the rest if it persists.

It is a familiar theme, getting rid of and keeping stuff, as we try to consolidate. I guess I can’t get away from it, even following me outside. As hard as I try, I seem to do the things I don’t want to do and don’t do what I ought.
“...For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
For what I do is not the good I want to do – this I keep doing …What a wretched
man (woman) I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God –
through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:18, 24-25


I guess I need a season of laying waste, watching out for what might crop up unwanted in me, getting rid of it quickly out of my life before it takes over and not be so busy elsewhere for awhile.

How about you?

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