Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pushing daisies

The only things that grow really well in our front garden are ants and daisies, but right now we're suffering a surfeit of both so we'd be happy to share. Take my ants--please!

Frankly, it's a wonder anything grows there: thick clay soil with lots of rocks close to the surface and a thick layer of gravel about six inches down where the driveway used to be. A big chunk of the front yard is defaced by an unsightly concrete cistern with a rusted iron cover, but this spring my sweet husband covered it with decking so I could set up a bench at a perfect spot for watching birds at the feeders. The rest of the front garden is a work in progress.

I don't remember how many years ago I saw a clump of daisies growing on our hillside and decided to move them down to the front garden. If they can grow up there on that thin, rocky soil, I told myself, they can grow down here--and that's what they do, threatening to take over every available inch. They're helpful early in the season because they crowd out pesky invaders like creeping charlie, but they also refuse to give my azaleas and ageratums any breathing space. That one little clump of daisies I transplanted now covers half of my front garden and would gladly cover the rest.

So today I've been pulling up daisies (better than pushing 'em!), leaving one swath standing near my new bench and replacing the rest with alyssum. The ants were not particularly helpful, but they did add a certain piquancy to the planting experience. They're nothing like the fire ants I used to encounter in Florida, but they're quite proficient at swarming up legs and nibbling annoyingly at ankles.

We've tried many times to discourage our ant colonies, but if we kill 'em off over here, they come back over there. Something about our front garden makes them thrive, just like those stubborn daisies--and just like me. When I'm done with my planting I sit on my bench and watch the birds visit the feeders and the butterflies visit the daisies, and something within me grows strong and stubborn and calm and colorful.

1 comment:

Bardiac said...


Maybe an ant eater will volunteer?