- Author: Jane Callier
About twenty five years ago I had a garden helper who very kindly arranged a river rock edged garden bed--of about 50 foot circumference--in my backyard. I didn't ask him to do it, but I filled it with flower beds anyway that my giant black dog lay in, then a viburnum that I tired of, then a miscellany of flora. Next the eau de cologne mint took over and vanished, then the lemon balm mint took over and vanished, but the wild onions took over and stayed. My husband forcibly removed them this spring. Suddenly I had a large patch of empty ground edged by a now sunken rim of rock that, twenty five years later, was a tripping hazard for the two old people (that would be us) who lived there.
I put the hose on drip to dampen/loosen the packed soil around the rocks. At first I used a shovel to lift the rocks, but soon found a garden fork was more efficient. (I also found it was really foolish not to wear a pair of heavy gloves while doing this sort of work.) Another discovery was those rocks were two and three layers deep. However, I could move quite a pile of rocks in fifteen minutes. Soon I was working for half an hour, then forty minutes. No, it was not exactly fun, but the weather was wonderful and I was getting some outdoor exercise. It was such mindless work that I was able to plan new garden arrangements and make lists of the things I forgot to do this spring but will certainly do next year.
The short bursts of concentrated labor meant that this chore took much less time than I had thought. Near the end, my husband pitched in and we were done in about twelve days. Now I am going to use my fifteen minute plan for all sorts of tasks, and not just in the garden.
UC Integrated Pest Management Viburnum-Viburnum spp. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/viburnum.html
UC Master Gardeners Sonoma Co.
Hardscape-river rock http://sonomamg.ucanr.edu/Sonoma_Gardener_Articles/Hardscape/
Herbs- Eau De Cologne Mint-Mentha x piperita citrata
North Carolina State Extension Lemon Balm Mint-Melissa officinalis https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/melissa-officinalis/
Wild Onions Calflora https://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=238
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Photo credits: Cindy Watter