Freeing the angel

This time of year, everything seems overrun by the usual garden invaders: mint, grasses, lemon balm, and even oregano. (Not to mention the non-native vines that creep in from the edges of our property).

Slowly but surely, I’ve been hacking down mint, ripping out its roots, and attempting to suffocate the remaining rhizomes with mulch, leaving just enough to chop up in salads and muddle into drinks. I’m sure it will just start growing again soon, but for now, I’m rather proud of my progress.

Perennial garden progress

I’ve been clearing invasive mint out of the perennial garden to make room for strawberries, coreopsis and coneflower.

The strawberries definitely seem happier (I’ve thinned them considerably), and the oregano (which is invasive in its own right) has at least been cut back and looks healthy in its new growth.

Oregano

Oregano: healthy-looking new growth beneath the summer’s dried-up stalks.

The years of planting, pruning and planning that someone else put into this flower and herb garden are very apparent. What’s not so obvious is where planning ends and neglect begins. An existing perennial garden is like Michelangelo’s chunk of marble:

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. – Michelangelo

With each sliver of weeds, each trimming of the excess growth in this little corner of my yard, I see the angel just a little more clearly.

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