By Phyllis Galowitz

This has been a strange spring. We’ve had extreme heat, then unusually cool nights, and rain… rain… rain, with hours of bright sunshine interspersed. Is this unusual or is it what spring is like? Wildflowers seem to be blooming more than ever along Route 28, creating breathtaking entrances and exits to and from Andes, but when they bloom in our own gardens, we call them weeds.

Gill-over-the-ground, a creeping, ivy-like plant with blue-violet flowers, is beautiful; and I have mixed feelings about letting it wander unimpeded between the perennials. While it’s flowering, the electric-blue flowers are stunning, but when the flowers are gone and the plant turns brown and is not so attractive, it is quite a nuisance. The other day I decided to pull them out before they took over the whole garden, starting with an area of about 4 square feet. They came out easily from the wet soil. The roots spread under the ground and travel far and wide. The wheelbarrow was filled to the top. My back was aching and it started to rain again. It was time to stop. It did look so much better.

The autumn joy reappeared, along with the cranesbill geranium and sweet woodruff, now taking center stage, with a backdrop of coreopsis, coming up behind them on the hill in back of my house. The next attack will be the fern, which again, is beautiful, but it’s covering the hens and chicks, growing in the little rock garden on the hill, so the ferns will have to go.

The rain has stopped but it will take days for the backyard to dry enough to be able to mow the lawn and do some more planting. Evergreens, behind the perennials, are lush and full. I thank them for filling my garden in all seasons with beauty that is trouble-free. Well  almost trouble-free, but they keep making babies that grow where they’re not wanted and I’m constantly looking for adoptive parents for the poor, unwanted baby spruces. When I see the little ones, at eight inches tall, I think they’ll be fine where they are, but a year or two later, they’ve suddenly become four feet tall and as wide, and I realize, they’ve got to go. That’s something to think about before planting an evergreen.

The endless summer hydrangeas that I just planted (in what used to be my vegetable garden but is now too shady for most vegetables because of the growth of the trees) seem perfectly happy there, along with lettuce, chard, parsley and impatiens, that tolerate light shade. I’ve pruned the lower branches of the river birches, to allow more sun to filter through. I love the patterns of the shaded sun, moving over the garden as the breeze makes the branches dance.

I’m late for setting in the dahlias that had been stored all winter. There just have not been enough days for planting because of the rain but I’ll still put them in and hope they’ll have time to bloom before the summer’s end. They are magnificent.

Gardening makes me happy!~


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