Sunday, June 9, 2013

Jumping June Jail Break




            The garden looks like a jail break. Everything we ever put somewhere wants to be somewhere else. Maybe everywhere. Paths are disappearing. Smaller plants are disappearing under the over-reaching of bigger, bulkier neighbors. The little pieces of brown earth that earlier appeared between plants of different species have been swallowed up by rapid lateral, as well as upward, expansions.
            Rapid springtime plant growth is kind of like monopolistic capitalism in an expansionist cycle. Everybody wants to corner the market.
            Actually, the first week of June is always an expansionist cycle. Every year we get to this point of saying, oh no, things are out of control. It's a green riot. 
            But early June is also an object lesson on how in the "real world," a world outside of human inventions such as borders, boundaries, claims, property lines, states, and governments is no respecter of species. It's impossible to keep natural entities -- material beings of any sort, such as people -- sorted into discreet units. Real things (like people) don't stay where you put them.
            My little plots of Mazus, forget-me-nots, evening primrose, et al. don't clump together, marching in step, saluting the flag, following the rules, respecting each other's territory. They don't form little nation states. They don't say all of us who live here are Mazus, true and blue, we all look the same, so get out of here, violets. And stay in your own place. It wouldn't do any good. Violets don't stay in any one place, ever.
            Some plants simply grow strong through their centers and push out at the sides in all directions. A new season begins and suddenly they're wider, taking up more air space, more ground space. The Coreopsis with lacy leaves and delicate yellow flowers has 50 percent or more mass than when we last put our heads together in the fall. Anything else in the neighborhood has to give.
            Other plant groups simply interpenetrate one another. The Dianthus survives and sends up bright red little flowers into the clear air despite rubbing stems with the Mazus that has otherwise apparently overrun it.
            All of this suggests (to me, at least) the historical dissemination of peoples -- families, kinship groups, clans, tribes, ethnicities, nationalities.
            I could spend all of my time fixing up borders and extirpating intruders, removing the new growth that wasn't growing last year from where it is growing this year, and trying to put the new world back into the order of the old work, but it would be absolutely all I did. I would become the plant police.
            I do a fair amount of policing as it is, thinning, cropping, trimming, weeding (having decided which is the weed and which is the plant of higher value) as it is.
            But restoring the old regime, putting Borbons back on the throne, locking up the border, building up the fences, removing the plants without papers from the established flower-state homelands and sending them somewhere -- to the mulch pile, possibly -- is... Well, it t'aint natural. Plants will mix and some of this mixing will change the nature of the garden.
            I think it's the way of the world.