So this weekend, for the first time in two years, I Gardened.

Real gardening. Not, y’know, just moping over on-line catalogs, not doing research on native species, not even slogging around town looking for likely candidates…I mean real, honest to god, gardening, woman and shovel and bag of manure vs. North Carolina clay and tree roots.

And yes, I’m sore. Actually, I feel like I’ve been tromped on by mules.

But it went well. I singlehandedly got most of the plants in the ground, and Kevin came in with a shovel for the two big holly bushes. (I have to go buy a little male before spring to fertilize ’em, but it shouldn’t be a problem.) Yesterday  was the Mt. Airy witch hazel and the anise hyssop, today the chocolate Joe Pye weed.

In order to make space for the holly, I had to launch an assault on a tangle of Himalayan blackberry and bindweed, an invasive nest spawned in the bowels of Lucifer himself. The blackberry took a toll, but temporary victory was achieved.* Along the way I discovered a couple of natives, none of them terribly uncommon, but all of them much more welcome than blackberry–a few tentative sprays of American goldenrod, a common sight in ditches around here, white wood aster, and one lone pokeberry, stem a shocking shade of hot pink, with one lone spray of black berries. (Pokeberry is toxic to mammals, but beloved of birds, so it’s welcome to stay where it is–that area could use filling in with something other than bindweed.) I spent over an hour untangling the bindweed from the asters, who probably don’t know what to think–they were half smothered in the damn stuff.

I feel that I have, at least temporarily, accomplished something. Life is good.

*Temporary victory is all you get with blackberry. I am obliged to make nice with the huge tangle on the other side of the property–much as I would love to replace it with a native blackberry thicket, it is invulnerable to my paltry efforts until such time as I rent a backhoe. I shall try to think of the good it does as food and cover, and ignore the whole invasive-monocultural-death bit.

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