The garden is growing now with serious intent. My job yesterday was to get in there with the big loppers and cut down about a dozen sassafras treelets along the western side of the driveway. If I waited any longer, they would become too big to cut down with the loppers and we need to keep the edges of the drive clear so we can plow the snow in winter and grow wildflowers in the spring.
Sassafras trees are extremely useful. It’s the original source of root beer and has a bunch of medical uses too. We are blest with a lot of them. They grow very quickly from a tiny sprout to a pretty big tree in a matter of weeks. On top of that, they are actually a hardwood tree once they grow up. They turn a glorious shade of golden yellow or orange in the fall. But there are only so many trees we can grow on our two and a half acres. Even with periodic pruning, our woods are overcrowded. I would love some more maples, but the shade of the oak trees kills them before they get to full size. Maples need sun.
Having cut down about two dozen baby sassafras trees, I then started cutting down lethal branches the roses were sending on. One branch was the length of the entire garden, completely covered with barbed wire thorns. I looked at it, found where it started, and cut it down. It was the kind of branch that shoots out of the garden and wraps people in thorns that cause bleeding and worse, destroy your nicest clothing. If I don’t cut them back, those roses can do serious harm.
Everyone I know who grows these plants emerges from their gardens bleeding and torn. These semi-wild roses were originally bred to protect homes, manors, and castles from intruders. I’m pretty sure they did a great job. You couldn’t build a fence as lethal as those roses.
I should send this as a message to our Homeland Security people. Roses are a lot cheaper than walls or fences and harder to get past.. If you leave them to just grow, they will wrap your house so completely no one who doesn’t know the path will be like Sleeping Beauty’s suitors: entwined in thorns. I’m pretty sure these were the exact plant surrounding her tower.
At the end of all my cutting — and it was quite a lot — I was huffing and puffing and wanted to go inside and wash up, but I realized that, having cut down so many intruders, it was really quite pretty. The Rhododendrons are still in full bloom and all the Columbine is up. I was feeling optimistic about the day lilies which seem to be recuperating. The roses, aside from that one 10-foot branch I removed, look likely to produce a lot of roses in a few weeks.
I didn’t have my camera. I had, however, brought my cell and while I don’t really like cell phone pictures, I was pretty sure I wasn’t coming out again with a camera, so I took pictures. All the new pictures are from my iPhone and the older ones are cameras.
Spring has come and this time, I think it’s here to stay.