The Sweet Pain of Gardening

by Margaret de Weese  December 2002


I assure you I most certainly am not suffering from Armillaria but the ground surrounding the Acer macrophyllum is studded with golden mushrooms...and at night I am quite sure they glow palpably. However, since I haven't ventured out so late to see, I cannot vouch for the glow-in-the-dark description. I can't find any rhizomorphs so instead, I planted the peach tree in the large hole left by the hastily departing Dora (Amateis); rhododendrons pale visibly when golden mushrooms creep inexorably towards them. The peach tree, on its third move, looks happy with its sunny location and its protective caging.


An itchy two point buck came through last month, up-rooted two good size rhododendrons while trying to relieve that itch, and managed by the fourth try on the stem bark of R. arboreum var. cinnamoneum. The fastest grower in my garden is stucco wire, reaching heights of five feet in an hour. The five foot arboreum now reaches six inches and is positively lush with leaves.


While trying not to be sexist, men like things that move while women like to move things.  I like to move plants. Each of my plants must learn not to set down permanent roots . Rhododendrons seem to like this change of scene. They are shallow rooted, easy to move and that change to a new hole with fresh soil, filled with water for dehydrated foliage, does wonders both for me and for the plant. Leaves perk up in gratitude whilst I contemplate the next move. This relieves the pressure of moving furniture but causes havoc for garden map makers.


Weevils stand a good chance in my garden. I have bought that safe natural way of weevil control... a packet of nematodes for $19. Now as I can’t see them, I trust they are in that packet as I am watering that effective control into the right places. "However the weevils have the word out that if they go far enough down in the soil, that soon to be moved rootball with its teeming nematodes will be replaced with another virtually unchewed and nematode free banquet."


Labels pose a problem. The wooden ones rot, the metal ties fatigue, the misspelled ones last forever and are prominently displayed.


Colour in my garden is limited to green and brown...I would like this to mean shiny green and furry brown indumentum...but in fact, you probably know what I mean.  Ken Cox has stated that the unsightly rhododendron should be turfed. Although he didn’t state it in those words, I wonder what constitutes shapely? Those rhododendrons which have the prime real estate with pond view must have “thin” as an, visitors can see the frogs and the turtles, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem.


Gardening is not for the weak. It is a state of mind over matter that no matter how many problems multiply in the garden, the mind subtracts the multiplication and adds up the soul benefit.