Chives, Mint and a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

| 6/2/2014 2:47:00 PM

growing garlic

In sitting down to write this week’s article, it strikes me that these final days of May are the time for describing everything, and nothing.  Each day a new flower appears, a garden plant gets a little taller, the search for slugs goes on, the birds begin singing a little earlier, the river roars with rain until it calms itself down.  On the other hand, we are waiting, anticipating, working towards many things not yet come to fruition.  Our major projects for the summer are discussed and planned, but not yet begun.  Firewood is ongoing, and mentioned so often anyway.  The garden is seeded and planted - and while it seems to change each day, the story of seeds to sprouts is no doubt amply described each year.  The bold unfurling of beans, the confident eruption of asparagus, the delicate awakening of carrots: I know, easy to describe and not exactly new material.  

And of course the weeds. This is the time of ceaseless growth.  Just as I’ve made it through the garden beds tidying rows and freeing young plants from the competition of grass, thistle, dandelion, clover, and sorrel, it’s back to the beginning, it seems.  

And somewhere in the categorical middle ground between weeds and gardens is our herb plot.  This rock ringed area has hosted a particular duel this spring.  Home to both chives and mint (along with lemon thyme, catmint, oregano, horseradish, lavender, and sage), these two titans are vying for increased spheres of herbaceous influence.

herb garden, summer 2012

Early in the season, chives were ahead in the race for herb garden domination.  Mint - a wild peppermint (my spearmint is much more docile & provincial) - was slower to push it’s way above ground. The earliest round of weeding reined in the chives back to their original plot, eliminating more than a handful of mint weeds along the way.  The aftermath, though, has definitely turned in mint’s favor.  A don’t-take-no-for-an-answer sort of neighbor, this pernicious plant is not only emerging in my paths, coldframe, kale patch, and others, but now also taking on the sorrel, wild strawberries, and brambles that dominate our yard.  

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