Chaos Garden Feed

Daily Log: Pulling Weeds



Now that we have a trampoline, I can let my little girl bounce and play on that while I do garden work, and don't need anyone else to supervise her. We did this today, and I spent a lot of time pulling weeds. I don't like to make these things personal, but... it IS personal. And I have to admit that I HATE those weeds. Especially the ones with the little spade-shaped leaves, that grow inches overnight and turn into these vicious, grasping, clenching vine-like things. I HATE them. And the thing about weeds, that I've come to realize after years of dealing with them is... they always come back. You pull them and you pull them and you try out the latest "sure-fire" technique for getting rid of them, or for not allowing them to grow in the first place, but damnit they just come back anyway. And you have to pull them all over again.

This one, in the picture, was a particularly nasty weed, and I have to say it got very personal this afternoon. The thing is, I let this one go for too long and it got huge. Huge like the size of a small bush - taller than my little orange tree whose roots I'm sure it was trying to strangle. So yes, it got personal. Strong words were used. But I got him. Ripped him up by the roots. And I don't like to feel that way about other living creatures. I don't want to feel as if the weeds are my "enemies." But they are. And I think, deep down inside their heartless little roots, they know they are, too.

Well that's all I have to say about weeds today. And this post counts as both the "personal" and "current events" portions of my log. 



Daily Log: The Unknown Gardener


Chaos garden 2


It occurred to me a while ago that the reason the world is in such terrible shape right now, and so many awful things are happening all over the globe, is that I haven't been tending very well to my garden.

I am only half kidding. Anyway, up above is a picture of my garden ("Chaos Garden") as it was a couple of weeks ago, after over a year of abject neglect. What was actually very cool about it though, was that some of the things I had planted there a couple of years ago, would keep growing back. You can't see my 7' tall Australian Spinach plants here, or my Jurassic Collard bushes, but these pale purple flowers are my 2nd or 3rd generation daikon. It's been fun going out there and discovering what has decided to grow on its own.

Chaos garden daikon flowers 3

But however delightful Chaos Garden has been, it was time to clear it out and start planting some things properly. So that's what I've been doing over the past few weeks. I started my seedlings several weeks ago, hired some wonderful hard-working gentlemen to clear out Chaos Garden, and have started planting some of the hardier seedlings there.

As an aside - and maybe this will be the political part of this post - I'm not going to post either the names or photos of the wonderful gentlemen who helped me with my garden. The reason for this is that they come from a different country, and I don't know what their immigration status is, and I wouldn't want to get them into any kind of trouble.

I'm not going to make this a post about immigration policy - I'm only going to say this: Whatever your beliefs about state-enforced borders, one of the consequences of having those borders is what I am doing right now. I'm refraining from sharing happy information about someone, letting someone show off their hard work and accomplishment (wait till you see the photos of our front yard!) on my blog. I'm doing that out of fear for the safety of the people who helped me. And that is one of the effects of this kind of law: Fear. We become just a little more fearful that someone might get in trouble, a little more careful in what we say publicly, or even among friends. We become just a tiny bit more guarded, less trusting. 

If you've spent any time at all in a totalitarian regime (I have), then you will know that one of the most striking features of society in that kind of world is the lack of trust between people. The kind of government we live under, and the kinds of laws, can have a very big impact on what our society looks and feels like. You may support state borders and strict border enforcement. You may think deporting people away from the country they've lived in for decades, because they haven't jumped through the proper hoops, is legitimate and even good. But you cannot deny that it also has this effect: It adds just a little bit more fear to, and subtracts just a little bit of trust from, the society we live in.

So here's the front yard. It's just the first phase - I've now got to find some French Lavender, and a few other things to fill it out. Also some paving stones. But I think it's a good start. It's a Mexican lime tree in the middle of the circle, BTW. So if you're ever in the neighborhood and get a hankering for some Tequila, you know what to do.

Courtesy of the Unknown Gardener:

Front yard phase 1 2





Welcome to Chaos Garden


Dinosaur garden 1


I'm sure many of you have heard of "prehistoric plants." Probably you've seen them in movies, looked at pictures of them in dinosaur books, maybe even seen a living one in a zoo that collects specimins of ancient vegetation.

I'm here to tell you that it's all a lie. "Prehistoric plants" are nothing more than someone's collards gone unattended for a few years. And I've got proof. Look:

Dinosaur collards


This is a collard plant. It's been growing in Chaos Garden for, I don't know, maybe two years now. Maybe three.  A few years back, I put a lot of effort into the garden: Planted a bunch of stuff, fed and watered it all, set up a rudimentary irrigation system. I even weeded sometimes. Things grew, and it was great. Then Life happened. And for a few years, I really didn't have time to do very much anything at all in the garden. And that's how Chaos Garden happened.

Without my doing very much anything at all, some plants just continued to thrive. Here, kind of, is what it looked like:

W bird house 1


What you can't see are the climbing spinach plants on the other side, scaling the backs of the weeds.

Yes, climbing spinach.

I also had "wild" pumpkins/kabocha, which had re-seeded themselves from the previous year:

Wild kabocha

I also had an absolutely beautiful African Basil plant that withstood three "winters" and grew to be about four feet tall and at least as long. Sadly, it was crushed last spring, by an overzealous tomato plant which is now going on its fourth (I believe) year.


African Basil 1


Bees LOVE African Basil, by the way:


Bee 3


So that's my garden. Chaos Garden. I'll be posting about it from time to time, when it serves us up with unexpected delights or unidentifiable edibles. I might even post some gardening tips from time to time, although honestly the biggest lesson I've learned from these last few years is: Abject neglect isn't going to kill everything, and it will make some things better.