Wednesday, July 27, 2011

getting rid of mint, welcoming rabbits

Today I spent hours ripping up this patch of mint, planted by the house's previous owners around the dogwood before they realized what an invasive species mint is. 

Basically, the lesson learned is to NEVER PLANT MINT IN THE GROUND. If you want some mint in your herb garden, put it in a container!

Some of the roots were 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and deeeeeeep. I know I didn't get all of the roots, because I was worried about going too deep and hurting the dogwood roots intermingled with the mint roots. 

I've definitely enjoyed my share of the mint - for the past month I've added a sprig to just about every glass of water I've consumed, and I have been reunited with mojitos after years of boycotting rum (thanks to a little help from St. Germain).

But as much as I like it in my cool summer beverages, it had to go. I am not sure if I want to keep the bed around the tree (replacing the cement blocks, which I dislike as much as the mint), or plant grass seed around it. 

So today, I focused on getting whatever I could out of the bed, which required moving a lot of the blocks and making friends with all the creepy crawly many-legged creatures that live among them.

Here is all that's left of it now.

Until, say, next week, when dozens of new mint spouts are sure to pop up from underground. From what I have read, it could take a couple of years to get rid of it. If any tiny root fragment is left behind (let alone some of the gargantuan ones I couldn't wrestle free from undergound), it will quickly propagate.

The next step is to cover the soil with black plastic, and then top it with mulch, to starve the remaining mint of any light needed to grow. I just have to check on whether this is safe for the dogwood.

I also did some weeding in the driveway. Yes, that's right, the driveway. As if its not enough to try to keep up with the prolific weeds in the flower beds, I have to deal with weeds sprouting up out of every crack and blemish in our much blemished concrete driveway. 

Normally rabbits in the yard mean some flower or bush has become rabbit salad, which is mildly annoying at best, and potentially fatal to certain trees and bushes at worst. But today, I welcomed the help of this little guy, chomping away at a particularly egregious patch of weeds in the middle of the driveway. 

Getting rid of the mint and driveway weeds left me very tired and cranky - far from my most zen gardening experience - so I decided to unwind by playing around with some flowers. 

Here's something I threw together with a couple of hydrangea stems and hosta blooms (yes, I still have several). 

And for the millionth time, I found myself longing for a flower arranging class in Buffalo/WNY along the lines of this or this. If you know of any, please leave a comment!

{A final reminder ... NEVER PLANT MINT IN THE GROUND}

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