When I was in first grade, classmates who showed up after receiving a severe haircut were welcomed with this chant:
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair,
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?
How sweet, you say, but what does this have to do with the garden?
Well, you may recall that I wrote in an earlier post about how I intended to cut all the left over stems, etc., into short lengths and let them stay in the beds where they fall, and that would be my spring clean-up. Brave words, these were. Brave, but also dumb. Well, mostly dumb.
By the end of March I had gone through the front garden beds, cleaning up according to the above plan. It looked like this.
The garden did not have the non-fuzzy Fuzzy Wuzzy look. It had more the look I had after the one and only haircut I got from a neighborhood barber called Ben. We had just moved into a new house, and I discovered there was a barbershop just three blocks away. How great, I thought, and I strolled over to get a haircut.
Ben was in his early 80s, which is not to say there aren’t many, many supremely competent barbers in their 80s. It’s just that I later discovered that Ben spent the day in his barbershop not cutting hair, but watching tv and avoiding his wife. In any case, Ben gave me a haircut which my kids called “the tufted look”, featuring tufts of hair of varying lengths sticking out at various angles all over my head.
But giving my garden the tufted look wasn’t the problem. The problem was that in beds with lots of tall plants and dense growth, the quantity of plant debris was such that it was smothering the bulbs as they were trying to come up. The poor little grassy leaves of the grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) were having an especially difficult time.
So I ended up giving the front beds another haircut, and now they look like Fuzzy Wuzzy, who wasn’t fuzzy.
They still have a modest amount of plant debris. And in the back and side beds, where the growth was not so tall or dense, I was able to stick with my original plan.
So where did all the stems and other plant debris go? Well, into two piles next to my compost bins in the alley. They looked like this after I stomped on them to make them more compact.
Maybe they will be eaten by the big pink blob crawling down from the upper left corner. Oh wait, that’s my finger. Will you be surprised if I tell you this isn’t one of Judy’s pictures?
Do you prefer the Fuzzy Wuzzy look, the tufted look, or something else in the garden?