One slice into the soil with the old shovel
impact with a rock, a piece of pottery a brick
stops me as I realize I may not be completely
fit yet for this feat, but I need to dig
out the mint roots.

How can I explain to someone who doesn’t see
the complexity of roots beneath the surface
that it is futile to only pull the plants above ground
you have to remove the roots too to create a
mint free region. It can be done. It’s like

taking out black walnut roots to create beds without
that glorious toxin juglone (5-hydroxy-alphanapthaquinone
I had to look up the name, it simply would not come out of my head.)
I criss-crossed my yard pulling up tree roots from
those trees when I first moved into my old old house
when I was married. My neighbors thought I was crazy.
All my neighbors eventually realize that I am a nice
“don’t spray your chemicals on your side of my fence”
organic gardener kind of crazy.

Mr. Cliff and I had a conversation once where I explained
that the roots from my morning glories died because he
sprayed weed killer on his side of my fence.
I explained that the chemical doesn’t respect
the fence though both of us did. When I water my plants I also
water his lawn on his side of the fence. He said
he never thought of it that way.

It’s like water flowing along the borders of a state,
who can own a piece of water when it washes and flows?
He offered to buy me new plants. I thanked him for listening
and offered to pull the morning glories that grew on his
side of the fence each year instead. He laughed and said
he could just weed wack them instead,
he didn’t want me to have to do so much work.
Harvesting morning glory seedlings is fun for me.
Probably a little obsessive, but gratifying.

We got along well the whole time I lived there.
He came out of his house one day when I
was braiding trees in my back yard.
“Girl, you sure do like hard work.
What are you doing?”

“Braiding my trees so I can make trellises.”
Such a natural response, it just slipped out.
He blinked at me. I explained.
I needed more light in my back yard,
so I trimmed back some limbs
(cut down huge branches with a saw,)
then realized they would be perfect trellis
arch pieces for the entrance to my wooded lot.
The green limbs were so flexible they were
almost begging to be braided.
“I wanna see how you do that.”

First I trimmed off the extra short shoots with a knife
then I anchored the end of the tree and started gathering
branches into groups of three like prepping hair to
be french braided then you start and don’t
stop until you reach the end of the branch
tie it off with wire, cable really, then repeat.
Until you have a big stack of braided branches.

“Well, what do ya know about that?” he said
shaking his head and walking back to his side of the fence.

Other branches can be braided to it to
increase the length or it can be extended
with other pieces of braided trees wired to it.

The tension of the limbs control the diameter of the arch.
young soft branches bend more.
older thicker branches bend less.

Pound a 48″ fence rail half into the ground
attach the thick stem to the bottom at ground level with wire
Repeat on the other side, or as needed
if you are creating multiple arch trellises,
Corner arches are awesome and fun to make.

At this point you should have two pillars of straight pieces
and you may or may not need a ladder to attach the two
sides together. I usually keep some thin braided sections
to use as extensions and connectors
(I hope you’re still following me.)

Wrapping the wire around the anchored part, start pulling the
top down to the arch diameter you would like to achieve. (Listen to the
wood it will creak as you pull it taut. If it snaps, you have
gone too far and you have just created a Tiki torch.)

If you have a house of giants, then by all means
bend it at seven or eight feet high, remember this will have something
live growing up it that will have leaves/flowers/fruit hanging from it.
Think about head clearance. (I have always had to think
about hitting my head on ceilings, light bulbs, I-beam supports,
chandeliers, it gets tiresome, you really do see stars or
explosions of colors when you slam your head into things.)

You can anchor the end if you don’t want to be seen
wrestling with trees in your back yard. Attach the other end
to the anchored section and wrap liberally with wire.
This thing has to withstand the elements and will last for
years if connected well and anchored to the ground.

Bury the bases of both sides and plant some type of
climbing vine to it. Not trumpet vine. It is invasive and evil.
Pretty, it attracts hummingbirds, but it can grow through a roof
and sends out runners 15 feet away from where you planted it.

One more tangent, but I made it to the poppy garden today.
The poppies were mostly spent, but there were plenty of other
bachelor’s buttons, dame’s rocket, butter cups, iris,
some type of allium and a cute little blue flower that I
don’t know the name of.

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2 thoughts on “Dig out the mint roots, but I saw poppies

Any thoughts on the above post are appreciated! Otherwise, I think I must be living under a rock.

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