Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Intrusive plants

I seem to have a thing for intrusive plants. First the mints and now purple loosestrife.
Two summers ago is when I first try to introduce this plant into my garden. It grew all over the lambertville towpath, so I decided to take home a clipping. It didn't take, but I brought along some poison ivy and my body got a reaction to it for two summers in a row.
This summer I succeeded. Check out the link below. My Loosetriffe looks exsactly like it (it's in bloom at the time). I've divided it into 5 different plants. Two are in the ground, two in pots I can bring into the house and one in an oversized pot with plentied of room for growth.


I haven't mentioned it before, but I have an addictive personality and I can obsess about things. I can do gardening the whole night through or cut the shoots of every plant in my garden, then try to root them without following the meticulous directions on how to properly achieve success. has a list of 16 different types of mint. I tried planting mints last year and they didn't survive winter. I think it is because the soil of my garden is still pretty awful, so this summer I got new ones and planted them in large tin peeled tomatoes containers I picked up from the recycling bin of a church near my house.
I have chocolate, pineapple, apple and spearmint. Basil, Egyptian and possibly Moroccan mints are on my search list.

I have clippings of all of them in water as well (Some have already sprouted roots) and since i've hear some awful things about how mints can take over the garden if left unattended I will keep them in this tin cans for the whole of their lives. If they survive winter that is.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Gardening at the edge of a cliff

Since I can remember gardening has given me a feeling of company and appreciation from the plants, insects and other animals (whom I never really minded if they ate my plants). It has also been a sort of barometer for the dangers of my surroundings.
I was very young when I started my first garden. Then soon after the first of a chain of complains which have been a contant occurence throughout life from the countryside of El Salvador to rural Pensylvania, London and now New York city. Though I carried my share of water from the river to the house and later on carried an extra load of water for my plants, the feeling of under the microscope unwantedness never left me.
It could be the fact that i've never know limits. After my uncles discarded the side panels used to carry sand in the MACK truck, I claimed them and used them as a garden barrier. They were about three feet high and long enough to make a raised bed against the full lenght of the house. I carried the soil from the bottleneck canyon where the cows traveled to and from twice a day and which turned out to be extremely fertile with manure and wood decay.
The scent and worms which sprouted from the flower bed however did not help my situation. Nor the fact that with all the extra space in my garden bed I went around the neighborhood asking for clippings, seeds and roots of anything i came across with.
Here in Brooklyn my street entered the greenest block contest and since then I've been busy beautifying my shady backgarden as well as the treepit, whiskey barrels, window boxes and the front garden.
Right before mother's day someone walked into the front garden and cut all the red tulips. They needed them for someone's mother I suppose; but then one day I got home and my climatis was looking worned. I though it needed water, untill I noticed someone had cut its middle section and thrown it a few feet away from the house. Then this morning I woke up to find all the queen kimberly boston ferns stolen from the pots by the door and a trail of soil down the stoop, across the street and on down the road.
I didn't bother to follow the trail. It's trime to retract and think things over for a while. In the meantime whatever is left in the front of the garden has moved to my back garden. I need to plant something unwanted, yet beautiful.
The feeling of uneasiness will not go away, but that's no reason to stop gardening.