It's Gotta Be Love
June 06 2020
There’s a patch of brome grass to the right of our driveway where I want a garden. This is extremely problematic as I have to dig it out. Brome grass is good for pasture, it’s tough, tenacious and grows quickly in the spring, being a cool season grass. It spreads rapidly with sharp pointed rhizomes; I have seen them pierce iris roots and continue on their way. If in the process of digging, if you leave a tiny piece of this root, the grass will be back before you know it. So I dig. And dig. And dig. It’s backbreaking work and the old grey mare is……….well, you know.
On a good day, I see nothing irrational about this behavior (mine, not the grasses’) but occasionally I question why I do it. There’s only one answer-it’s gotta be love.
Yes, you can make arguments for physical fitness, beauty, bees, butterflies, shade, food, etc. and these are all true for someone. But the all encompassing single best answer for me is love. I’m in love with gardens. (You, too, honey, not to worry.) I love a soft green carpet of grass, apple blossoms in spring, the first crisp fall day along with the first crisp bite of apple right off the tree. I love the scent of lilacs, the play of light on bright spring green leaves, my porch swing, and the flowers, any flowers. I even love the (albeit brief) sense of order you get from weeding, and planting trees is an act of love. There’s only one thing I don’t like and that is digging brome grass, I suppose I could smother it with cardboard (though I've read that cardboard is bad for your soil in that it stops oxygen from getting into the soil, and worms and plant roots need oxygen) and mulch but I want flowers this year, soon.
This garden (about 3’x 20’) is going to be a dedicated cut flower garden with mostly annuals that I will let reseed. There will be no strict order here-the reseeding will undo that anyway; I’m thinking Grandma’s cottage garden. I built a simple three rail fence across the back for a framework and to say the garden stops here.
I see hollyhocks, larkspur, stocks, snapdragons, zinnias, and most of all cosmos. I love orange cosmos, pink is ok but with orange, it’s love. Probably not marigolds, though orange, they are a little too soldierly to me. Perhaps paradoxically, I read that the Greek word ‘cosmos’ means harmony or ordered universe and the flowers were so named because of their evenly placed petals. And, get this, the typical meaning of cosmos is ‘love flower’. They speak of love, surely serendipity is at work here!
So, I’m off to dig brome, because of love.
Cosmos sulphureus, orange and yellow cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus, pink cosmos