As the sun continues to warm the earth, I eagerly make the rounds through my garden with the leaf blower strapped on my back. Through the trails, around the islands, across the paths, I blow away winter dirt exposing new life already pushing through the soil. Instant gratification, as I cast my eyes on the wild flowers below.
"Hello, My Lenten Rose, Perennial Brunnera, Snow Drops and Scilla!" "Hello Wild Ginger, Sweet Woodruff, and Virginia Bluebells." And then I spot it -- the Garden's Arch Enemy. Sigh.... I must have missed a plant last spring and now 100 seedlings greet me, taunt me really, and remind me of my mistake.
What is the garden's archenemy? Garlic Mustard! The extremely aggressive (and stinky) perennial plant, Garlic Mustard, is difficult to control given its explosive rate of reproduction (100 - 1,000 seeds per plant). Even after the plant is pulled, it continues to live and germinate with only a glimpse of sunlight and drop of water. Because of this, great care must be taken when weeding. In addition to pulling the plant at its roots, each pulled plant must be enclosed in a thick black garbage bag before discarding into the trash. This will ensure the garbage trucks do not spread the seed throughout the village.
This time of year, the Garlic Mustard leaves are low to the ground and appear as a small bushel of a plant. They reach for the sky (growing up to a few feet!) and will soon develop buds in preparation for their hostile takeover. Buds to blossom, white flowers top the plant and prepare to explode. Not only does the invasive plant spread seeds aggressively, its roots make the soil less appetizing for the natural habitat.
Well over a hundred acres of nature preserve, in addition to hundreds of acres of Cleveland Metro Parks surround my garden in Moreland Hills. Every spring, family, friends and neighbors pull Garlic Mustard. It is a great outdoor exercise and purposefully helps restore the natural habitat in our village.
This year, YOU are invited to participate in the Great Garlic Pull Challenge!
- Grab a bag and show the love!
- Pull Plants at Root
- Post/Tweet a Picture of your Work
- Discard responsibly
~ Gardening Purposefully ~