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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – June 22

Three are eight plug-trays on the ground outside of my garden shed, filled with young plants that I’ve started from seed. Two varieties of Verbascum, two cultivars of Prunella, some Lisianthus and three ground-cover type perennials await planting. For the past two weeks I’ve felt guilty as I watered them, wondering when I’ll have time to get them in the ground. Today I decided to take the advice I often give consultation customers.

Several times per week I find myself advising my clients not to think that they need to get everything done all at once. If you decide that all your planting, weeding or mulching has to be finished in one work session, you’ll feel overwhelmed and nothing will get done.

“Do it in small doses,” I’ll advise, and I decided to approach my planting in the same way. So this morning I decided to plant Verbascum ‘Banana Custard’ and the pink-flowering Prunella. This went well but required a detour for digging violets.

I don’t want violets here. They keep popping up, some in the soil from my last garden, and others with plants that we’ve gotten from fellow gardeners. As soon as I spot them I stop what I’m doing and dig them out.

Violets have a thick crown and roots that store enough energy to generate growth even after you’ve pulled them once or twice in the past. I’ve learned to dig them out, so that I remove the entire plant, and I always place these in the garbage, never in the compost pile. Once violets get growing on a property it is very difficult to get rid of them.

As I put my flats of Verbascum down to remove these pernicious weeds, I thought of how today’s garden session was typical of life in general. We aren’t usually able to finish everything all at once, but if we’re serious about making progress we make peace with moving forward a bit at a time. And our progress and planting is often delayed by the random problem solving that pops up along the way.

Today, I got one flat of seedlings planted, and remain resolved that I will continue to remove violets.

Normally I'm libel to toss pulled weeds on the side of the property, or leave them in piles in the garden. In a former garden I'd throw pulled weeds onto the driveway so I could have the satisfaction of running over them with the car. Violets, however, aren't to be trusted in either of these locations. Violets are placed in the garbage can with the lid closed down tight.

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