This summer has been an unmitigated disaster, yard-wise. In fact, I’m pretty sure my neighborhood association is on a vicious crusade to make me feel really, really bad about myself, what with all the talk in the newsletter of “grass needs to be no more than 8 inches high” this and “don’t obscure your front windows with wild untrimmed hedges” that.
It’s not my fault the weather this year has caused an explosion of plants and weeds of nuclear, if not Biblical, proportions. Thistles as thick as my arm. Queen Anne’s Lace that I could actually use to make an epic wedding dress, including veil. Morning glories adrift in the middle of the front lawn, if you can believe that.
I lay the blame on the super-hot temperatures we had in late June and early July. It was, honest-to-God, 105 degrees in the Fahrenheit one Saturday afternoon, and that pretty much killed any grass-like foliage I had growing both in front of and behind my house. Thus ensued Bare Spots, in which the dormant weeds, awakened by the monsoons rains which followed the HtG 105-degree weather, flourished.
My yard, ya see, until about 2003, lay in the middle of a large pasture, undeveloped and uninhabited — unless you count the gophers. They’re still here, by the way. Groundhog Central. Anyway, this pasture land, ungrazed by any animal and untended by any farmer, fostered the growth of the aforementioned thistles and Queen Anne’s Lace undisturbed for centuries. I mean, Indians trod on my wild thistleland. Cave men tripped on my morning glory’s forebears. So when the grass gave up the ghost, the dormant seeds, undeterred by a couple years’ worth of sod laid atop it, sprang forth and stormed across my lawn like conquering warlords.
Matters were made worse by the absence of my yard boy for part of the summer, who also is known in some circles as my son Christopher. He was away quite a bit, and when he returned he had to go to band camp … eyeroll … sheesh, kids these days. So despite the fact that the drought made mowing unnecessary for most of the summer, when he returned — and then vanished as a mowing entity — the weed warlords saw their opportunity and set themselves upon world domination. Er, make that the domination of my yard. This whole matter had made me think quite apocalyptically. (Is too a word.)
But he did return, and he did mow, so the pampas grassland that formerly was my back yard now has settled back into its normal state of resembling the shorn head of of marine recruit. (See photo below; scrutiny of airborne progeny and boyfriend of eldest optional.)
Another interesting phenomenon is the planter on my front porch, planted with some sad petunias, some subdued greenery, and one whoppin’ big example of a forage plant.
This big thing here, which sprouted and took off during the monsoon portion of the summer’s proceedings, I believe to be an example of the millet plant. Its arrival isn’t too much of a mystery; last summer this particular flower pot sweated it out in the brutal conditions on my back deck, near the bird feeder. The untidy birds, as birds are wont to do, scattered about as much seed around the deck as they ate, some of which accumulated in the planters. Last spring I just dumped in a little fresh potting soil along with the new plants and went about my business. If some of last year’s birdseed sprouted, I just plucked it as I always do. But this whopper escaped me, and it charged out of the planter with astonishing energy, resulting in the vigorous crop of one plant you see before you today.
I find it amusing, as a peculiar addition to the wild crop of everything I’ve got growing in my yard this year. Oh I could be weeding and tidying every waking moment that I’m not working or feeding my hungry huddled masses, but something tells me it wouldn’t make a vast amount of difference. So I embrace my embarrassing yard, and the neighborhood association can just get over itself. If the apocalypse truly does come, I’ll be able to feed my family! I’ve got a crop of millet!
I wonder if morning glories are any good on toast.