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It’s Supposed to Just Happen

My gardening style is to wait and see what happens.  I mean wait too long and then eventually wade into the mess to assess the damage.   I have been neglectful.  While my husband has worked on rebuilding an arbor, my son and I built muscles in our shoulders and wrists we didn’t know we had by pulling the ever-annoying bee balm.  In case you haven’t heard: never plant bee balm unless it’s all you want to plant and don’t mind it taking over your yard, your house, your neighborhood, and the whole world!

It is the stuff Twilight Zone episodes are made of and it’s all my fault for zealously ordering all sorts of herbs as soap ingredients.  I then made one gigantic batch of castille soap, that didn’t even include bee balm, and haven’t made more for over 2 years.  In the meantime, I see that it’s now a permanent fixture in empty lots around the neighborhood (sorry).  The only purpose that weed is serving is to frustrate my little garden and build the aforementioned wrist and forearm muscles.   I look like Popeye now.


Needless to say you won’t find any photos of bee balm in this post.  I do like it when a house and yard looks slightly taken over, though; and ours does.  Mainly, because it’s old.  And these plants are now so old, moving from house to house, growing up with my kids, that they’ve slowly crept out of their pots to become firmly rooted in this yard.   We just thin them some.  Don’t picture a beautiful, historic vine-covered cottage now.  Our home is about ninety years old and there are vines, but it’s small and nothing dramatic, at least not yet.

I do plant seeds every spring, but I don’t fret over the garden like some of the men I know.  Whatever happens is gonna happen.


I throw in a couple more succulents when I buy seeds and try to repot half of my pot plants before summer.  Repotting is a chore that could earn my kids real money.  They get a look of fear in their eyes when I say they’re going to help me repot, so this time I let them attack bee balm while I did the rest.  Every pot plant is root bound and overgrown.  It doesn’t help that my very precise tools for this job are an old, bent kitchen knife, my hands, or even a large spoon.   I don’t know, I have clippers, gloves, and hand shovels, but these just work for me.

 cast offs
  baby grapes
 It only wants to grow on the house.
 This fern has been around in some form since I was in the 6th grade.
aloe periscope
 mexican tulips and aloe

All of these succulents are making me want to knit Sedum now.  These are my survivors.  I don’t have to cover them in winter or give them special attention, but I sometimes do.  They fall out of the pot and grow between pavers like crazy.  I love it when that happens.  One pencil plant has survived for a year and a half just stuck in an old bucket that fills with rain water because I was unwilling to buy another pot to plant it properly, but also unwilling to throw it away.

More on my Flickr.

 Monday evening I took most of these and rested from all the work.  I resolved not to let weeds go nuts in my garden again.  I resolved to buy new pots for next year, to be neater, and to better plan my back yard and patio.  But I know I’ll just water and watch for another year.  I can’t help it; I like it when things just happen in the ground.

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  1. i love your garden! i wish i had a little garden space 🙂 and you know, all of those muscles you're growing? well i bet they help with the knitting 😉 xo

  2. Thank you, Rebecca. It's a very small yard and awkward; but small spaces, even just patios, have the potential to be very relaxing and cozy.
    It's true about the knitting muscles! I was so sore Sunday night I couldn't even pick up needles, but now I'm ready to take on those KALs. Hopefully I'll catch up on the TTTKAL like you are.

  3. Michelle, I pretty much have the exact same bird bath with the exact same succulents-in-waiting, rocks and sticks. We have a small yard that was lovely when we moved in 20 years ago…kids, a big dog (who trampled everything), busy weekends and a vision of yard art (meaning anything rusty ended up in the flowerbeds…chairs, wagons, signs, all sorts of stuff) has given us a Beverly Hillbillies vibe. Slowly working out way into a more intentional space, but we still have lots of our rusted stuff! And we keep planting without a plan, delighted when a surprise flower shows up!

  4. Funny, Kim! I hear you about The Beverly Hillbillies, although my house, in this neighborhood, is a bit more Sanford & Son. 🙂 You know there's a reason these photos were close-ups.

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