27 September 2022

Hi, ya, Cinth!

People don't always believe me when I say I dug up "hundreds" of volunteer grape hyacinth and replanted them. (Or gifted them to admiring neighbors...) It's not really hundreds anymore; I've dug up all the forest-thick clumps while leveling and sloping the landscape around our house to prevent the errant window well from flooding the basement.

We literally had hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteer grape hyacinth growing in the rocks nearest the house. That is, until I pulled up all the rocks, dug up all the bulbs, put down leveling/sloping materials (all kinds of mowed, weed-whacked and dug-up unwanted plant/tree life from throughout the backyard, downed tree branches, unwanted landscaping bricks and logs, and fresh rocks and dirt from the landscaping company down the highway) one bucket at a time, put down cardboard, tarp and then returned the original rocks. I'm not completely done yet with the landscaping, but now that our roof and gutters have been replaced and downspouts diverted far from the house, no water is draining off the roof and making its way into the window well and no snowmelt is draining beneath the house foundation anymore. No more all-night bailing sessions!!! YEEHAW!!!

The bulbs I dug up went into the trapezoid-shaped landscaping bricks with which I've been lining the large rock garden along the house, as well as into pots and porch rail planters. A couple of years ago, I'd placed a bunch of volunteers in my beer barrel planters along the driveway. They now are making volunteers in the rocks along the driveway.

I spent half a lunch hour a week or so ago digging up volunteers along the driveway. I think I got 20 more mature bulbs! (I lost count.) Four of them are making pups, or baby bulbs! I had put down a layer of ground cloth and rocks when I redid that area back in about 2015. I didn't know then that ground cloth isn't going to stop the weeds. So I've been redoing small sections at a time when the weather is not too hot, and salvaging whatever bulbs and/or cosmos (which also voluntarily proliferate), before putting down a layer or two of cardboard, then tarp (often more than one layer), then returning the rocks to their place.

I really don't care for the rockwork; don't get me wrong. I'd love to do a fancy rock garden with round rocks placed in elaborate designs, and I still love using rocks with crocheted coverings as accents. But regular landscaping rocks don't really do anything for my creative process. Especially when covered with inches of icky, sticky clay that managed to work its way through the ground cloth. And yet, that very same clay is what seems to appeal to the volunteer grape hyacinth seeds that scatter in the wind, which also reigns supreme in these parts.

Volunteer grape hyacinths are worth all the yuckiness! I even brave earthworms and roly polies when digging up bulbs! Spiders and snakes will evoke screams, but I can work around some of the creepy crawlies without being too creeped out! I will never have to buy grape hyacinth bulbs as long as we live in this house. Never!

Next spring, hopefully I will be able to share the fruits of my labor once again. And if my new triple-layer weed protection doesn't discourage more weeds and volunteer bulbs, well, the weeds will still be put to death, and my little grape hyacinth kingdom will just continue to grow!

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