Can you dig it?

I love that you can see the progress of the garden and the redbud’s growth every time I take this photo. My apologies for the “dad” joke in the title. What is it they said a couple of years ago? Sorry, not sorry?

I had not taken an updated photo of the sign since 2017.

Speaking of signs, I am remembering to practice some phenology, though I have not been writing things down, rather taking photos to serve memory and time stamp.

Do deer eat dandelion?

It is clear to me that deer are coming through the garden and luckily, so far they are only eating things that we consider weeds.

Our resident Meadowlark graced us with a new song today!

I had an exciting first sighting as well — a Harris’s Sparrow. Here two of them are, calling in the trees along the school fence line. It’s the single-note repeat.

I am using Merlin Bird ID to ID by song. I did briefly see this bird as I was emptying a wheelbarrow at the compost pile. I noted its distinctive face markings.

We are entering the next stage of weeds after henbit season: Cleavers, possibly my least-favorite weed. As with most plants in the garden that we consider weeds, it is a non-native edible/medicinal. But I have never cooked or tinctured it. Here is a short article (with and adventurous recipe for meat-eaters) that talks about Cleavers in a positive way.

On the subject of weeds, my intention was to go to the southeast corner of the garden and just remove the dead stalks of the pokeweed. Then I saw that it was putting up new leaves, so I got a shovel out, too.

And I dug…

And I dug…

And I dug…

…you get the idea. There’s no way all the poke could be removed without a backhoe. It actually runs under the big rock!

Some of the pieces were as big around as my arm, if not bigger. Young poke leaves are edible, but it is not something I have ever tried. I was on a mission to eradicate as much of it as I could and stunt its monopoly of this corner. When it comes back, then, maybe I will eat some.

I could see where in other years, others had just cut the poke at ground level or put down cardboard. I mulched, and have some ideas for what I will plant back here. I had no idea that the root of poke could be so aggressive and large.

Time for a sky break. We did get a few sprinkles of rain.

I wasn’t the only one digging. There is an invasive, seeding grass in the middle figure 8. We have not ID’d it, but the way it grows, and how aggressively it grows, means that it’s getting kicked out.

A few hours of digging and transplanting, and that area is starting to look really good. There’s still more invasive grass, though!

The view from the center of the shade structure didn’t change much today.

I’m always wowed by the level of work that the people who volunteer here do. We always think that we’re not doing much, because we have our heads down and our hands busy and we are so focused on the task, but then we can step back and see real change.

There are reasons why, when I became an Extension Gardener, that I volunteered at this garden — and exclusively this garden and our native plant sale.

There is just something about this place, these plants, and the work we do here that is compelling.

I just wish I could get a few more people excited about being out here. Hopefully this blog will help.