In the background of some of my garden pictures you will probably notice a picturesque chain link fence. No one really loves them, and I’m usually a girl who prefers more privacy, but in this case, it has turned out to be a blessing, because we are meeting lots of neighbors when we’re out working or hanging out in the backyard.
After putting in a good hour or two of work digging up some of our resurrection lily bulbs, we found ourselves chatting with our neighbor directly behind us. He said he had had to use a tiller in his garden because there were two silver maple trees in his yard, and that they have these extensive shallow root systems that branch out into little balls of tiny roots, acting pretty much as sponges that suck the moisture from anything near them. The root systems are so tight that they prevent moles from invading your garden, but that’s about the only benefit provide. Our neighbor said that last summer, they sucked all of the moisture from the surrounding areas in his lawn and killed the grass.
Those shallow roots and balls of tiny root systems are what I was running into in the front bed as well. My chives have done really well there, and so far the snap peas and Swiss chard are not showing any signs of distress, so I’m hopeful that planting herbs there will be fine too, but we’ll see. At any rate, I’m going to work hard to get as many of the roots I do find out of there.
Things like this could stress me out, but for now, it feels like part of a bigger picture of give and take, of trying to execute an idea but also negotiating with reality.