Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Gardens

There are gardens we plant in places that have seen flowers before
places that have known the fragrance of roses and the seeds of zinnias

Then there are places that have not seen anything but the grass or trees that have been
an unbroken chain for millenia. Ours is the task to change it or preserve it.
I cannot change the fact that there will be new houses in old places.
I can help them find the plants that are best suited to that place
and how to maintain the integrity of the environment.
Follow the directions on the label. La Label es La Ley. Why is it so much easier for the female of the species to grasp this idea? Because they actually learned how to follow the directions of a recipe? Application of chemicals whether they are considered organic or not. Some chemists despise the terms "organic" and "chemical" when it comes to agriculture, gardening or landscaping. The others just giggle and wag their heads in disdain. They have entered the vernacular and I am stuck with them for lack of better options.
Not following the directions on the label of the bag, bottle or container of stuff whether it came from the petro-chemical industry, squeezed out of an orange peel or was scraped off the barn floor means that it can be ineffective, dangerous to non-target species or a waste of money. If you spray orange oil as a herbicide willy-nilly anywhere you have a mind to and without regard for established procedures then you will cause harm where it was not intended. Applying any product without regard for the directions is going to cause problems.

There are so many products on the market that fail to live up to expectations. I thoroughly detest "weed blocker" because it does not work as promoted. In fact it actually makes the situation worse. I have pulled up far more of this weed laden fabric and impermeable plastic than I have ever laid down. One of my previous bosses was crazy about the stuff. It wasn't as though we did not have an unlimited supply of mulch and compost. He was convinced that this cloth would prevent weeds from growing. It does not. It cannot. A perennial plant will grow through it and embed itself in the fabric. Nutsedge will embed its tubers in the fabric meaning that extraction of them is impossible other than cutting out the fabric and splicing a fresh piece.
It sucks. It doesn't make my job easier, it makes it harder. The only time I find fabric like this useful is as a backing for a dry stacked wall to prevent or retard the soil from seeping through the gaps in the blocks or stone. That is it. As a weed preventer or barrier it is worthless.
Another product which seems to be heavily promoted is Atrazine. Supposedly a wonder bullet capable of rendering any lawn on par with a USGA green. The problem is that they don't bother to inform you outside of the very small paragraph buried in the boilerplate that it is mobile in the soil and can damage trees, shrubs and flowers. Gee, that sort of info might be handy.
I am downright anal about putting out chems of any kind. I want to know as much as is available about what it does and what to expect. I want to know about any risks or shortcomings of the product. The retailer just wants to sell me something. I don't begrudge him that fact.