I made several life-and-death decisions this past weekend.
Specifically, I spent a lot of time on my knees in the strip of dirt I call a garden, hearing arguments from both sides of the perennial ground cover debate.
I have this weird yet somewhat attractive (if you're into that sort of thing) perennial plant that refuses to give up its territorial hold on a certain spot of land. I've pulled it out, tilled the soil, mulched over it, and no matter what it just keeps coming back. If only the rest of our lawn were so resilient.
Not surprisingly really, with the warm weather we've been having, the damn ground cover has sprouted right up, invited friends, and chilled a few six-packs.
I went in Saturday morning with the mindset that I was going to pull everything (yet again) and really stay on top of it this year. I have a lot of plans for that strip of dirt – tomatoes, peppers, pole beans, cucumbers, and a variety of herbs. We're not set up to accommodate decorative foliage.
As I started mercilessly digging out hunks of earth and roots, I noticed something. Mixed in among the annoyingly persistent greenery were happy little strawberry plants sporting bright yellow blossoms.
So here we had a dilemma. I have an "arrangement" with plants in my garden: I will offer protection in the form of watering and weeding you if you make it worth my while and repay me with some form of produce. The strawberry plants seemed quite amenable to that sort of agreement.
And yet, they were so inextricably interwoven with the other stuff. It would take hours of meticulous work to try to separate them, and knowing that ground cover I'd be out there doing the same thing week after week.
Reason spoke up, reminding me that if I did have to have strawberries I could simply purchase a new flat of them for several bucks, thereby sparing myself the pain and frustration of salvaging these plants.
But I have a soft spot for growing, thriving things (unless you're the ground cover that I've tried unsuccessfully to kill, and then you can just get the F out). I also am irresistibly compelled to root for the underdog. The strawberries gazed up at me hopefully and brandished their fuzzy yellow flowers.
"Oh, all right!" I said. The strawberries erupted in celebration, and I proceeded to spend the next 14 hours squinting at root clusters and cursing.
And now the damn birds will have a nice crop of well-groomed berries to dine on. Trust me, I harbor no false illusions.