The roses, bird of paradise and other large plants were left en situ, while I cleared the rest of the bed to remove the tenacious weeds that had staged a full-scale occupation of the rose bed.

The things I go through to garden. For the past six weeks I have been sweating and swatting mosquitos (yes, it’s been a warm fall down here on The Point), down on my knees tugging at weeds and potting up all the small plants that have been struggling in the rose bed.

My plan is to get the rose bed cleared of weeds—and I’m dealing with some doozies. There’s the common stuff like dollar weed and air potatoes (aaarrgh!) that have colonized the space. But then there are a couple real thugs that have almost eclipsed the air potatoes and dollar weed. That’s why all the small stuff like amaryllis, salvias, agapanthus and other things were struggling too. One is a colocasia (Okay I’ll admit that I planted the darned thing to begin with, but it seemed so small and innocent when it went in. Pretty too. Never trust a pretty face!) that had spread throughout, and was shading almost everything. The second is some Godzilla of a grass, devil-spawned. It has roots that run about a foot below the surface and are tough as rigging wire. Forget pulling it out. Not possible without dynamite. As for the colocasia, it produced thousands of little bulblets, ready to spring into action, and spread roots far and wide in its garden coup.

But! Believe it or not I have almost finished Stage No. 1 of the overhaul. I’ve moved all the small stuff out and into pots or flats—and that in itself was no small task. There were thousands, nay tens of thousands, of mini monkey grass plants to establish in flats. Some of that has already gone into new beds elsewhere. The rest, about 15 flats of it, is waiting for a new home.

I gave the weeds a chance to sprout back up so that I could spray them with my home-grown herbicide (RECIPE: one GALLON white vinegar mixed with one CUP salt). Did that a couple days ago and some of the interlopers seem to be responding. We’ll see if I need to do a second spraying. I am told this concoction will work on the most diabolical of weeds, even poison ivy. Yeah, we’ll see.

In the meantime I’ve been over to St. Augustine to Southern Horticulture and succumbed to the charms of an heirloom rose bush by the name of Souvenir de la Malmaison. Oh my, what a sweetie. Lots of eggshell pink blooms with a delicate fragrance. Already have a place for it in the bed, now that I’ve sorted things out in there.      

Next step, once the weeds are dead as door nails, is to spread a good layer of compost and some crushed charcoal (you know the bio-char thing). Then a layer of landscape fabric (Love that stuff!) goes into place, on top of that I’ll arrange the soaker hoses and then finally spread the three-inch layer of mulch. I’ve been stock piling leaves and Spanish moss for that purpose.

Stay tuned…I’ll post the progress as it…well, progresses!