I just cannot keep up. I am now at a point where I am spending a minimum of two hours per day in the vegetable garden, and I just could not squeeze time in the day to get to weeding the flower beds. If it were only a matter of sightliness, no problem. Our problem here at the farm is poison ivy and poison oak. It is absolutely everywhere. Nearly impossible to eradicate. More than once I have been in a weeding state of zombiness and pulled a large poison ivy plant with my bare hands. Incredibly, I have never gotten poison ivy! So while I may be immune, it still gives me a start when I realize what I am holding. A few days back I was at my local perennial nursery picking up some Coneflowers that deer seem to have taking a liking to lately. I had grown a batch from seed and half were eaten along with their peat pots. The deer left a nice little chomp out of the Lambs Ear as a signature of guilt. I was standing in line behind a lady at the check out who was talking about her husband with the wonderful man who always rings me out each visit to remedy some garden disaster. I was so taken with her conversation about her husband running a co-op garden in Cincy that I nearly missed the bales of mulch beside the counter. Pine needles. I registered those bales with interest because I had seen a garden at last years Lebanon Garden Show done beautifully with reclaimed pine needles. It had smelled as divine as it looked.
What caught my attention was the price on each bale- $8.99 each! I figured the average person could blow a cool hundred dollars in attempting to cover even a small area. That little interaction at the nursery finally had ME taking action. I had just completed the weeding of the Gayfeathers and Bee Balm. It was a perfect opportunity to be done with the weeding in these areas until next year. I took a few loads of our pine needles from the stands to the south of the house and had the whole area finished within a half hour. These are days where every dollar counts, and it feels good to be able to reclaim something that is just lying around the yard. A true win win situation.