This is the end result of a day spent digging and removing Elephant Ears and Canna from the garden, and preparing them for their long winter’s nap.
It’s probably my least favorite day in the garden, and each year, I dread its arrival. The chill in the air is my signal that, “It’s time.” Armed with a pitchfork, clippers, and nerves of steel, I apologetically approach each plant. I want to say, “Believe me, this is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you.” I want the plants to understand that my actions are for their own good, so that they may live to see another summer. But in the end, I fear that they’ll see me as a Viking, pillaging and ransacking their cozy beds.
Gardeners, I think, must have a bit of masochism in their blood. Who else would try to trick Mother Nature by planting wrong-zone plants, nurturing them into blooms, and then hacking them down, ripping them from the ground, and storing them over the winter — only to start the process all over again in the spring? Oh, to be content with zone-appropriate material!
As I went about my task, though, I found my mind wandering. With each cut and pull, I went from a man on a mission of mercy to Hannibal Lecter. Maybe it was the large number of plants or the rush of outdoor adrenaline, but my pace certainly increased and I adopted a take-no-prisoners, scorched-Earth policy. The plants were barely out of the ground, and I was planning on new locations for next season. If one of the Canna had an unopened bloom, I said, “Too late. You should have thought about flowering a few weeks ago.” And then it occurred to me, with dastardly delight, that I could totally milk three blog posts out of this massacre.
In the end, like a barbarian counting his loot, I surveyed my day’s work. Elephant Ears on the right. Canna on the left. Overwhelming? A little. Exhausting? Absolutely. Ruthless? Drastic times call for drastic measures. . .
Gardening. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.
By the way, as for those posts — be sure to check back for step-by-step instructions on digging and storing these tender plants.