The Plants, Not the Food.
(And to be honest, I sometimes also hate the blank-eyed sociopath pictured here with the chives. But what a pretty picture!)
Yes, I hate chives. I hate them with a passion. It is different from my hate of beets. I simply don’t like the taste of beets. Chives, I hate from the roots on up.
Oh, I know. I’m just being dramatic. It’s true. I am. I’m just trying to capture the emotion that was seeping and pouring from me last weekend as I finally decided I had had enough and began wrenching them from the ground in my garden. Plant after plant after plant.
There is a life cycle to this hatred and it goes something like this:
Late Winter: I admire their tenacity for growth in all but sub zero weather. Truly: it is the only good thing about them.
Early Spring: I might even go cut a few sprigs of the now six-inch high greens. Just because I can. Honestly, I just don’t think there is anything all that special about the flavor. But the pretty green color is nice. So, I guess they have that going for them, too.
Spring: About the time other things are just starting to green up the chives send up their lavender flowers. So there’s that. Very pretty. And really the main reason I planted them, marking each outer path corner.
Late Spring: THE SEEDHEADS. The short window of time between “Oh, I think I’ll let them go a bit longer… they are so pretty…” To: “Oh NO! The seedheads! The seeds! Don’t touch them! They’ll spill seeds! Nooooooo!” It is correct to say that the window between delight and despair is very, very short.
Summer: THE SEEDLINGS. Because the above-mentioned window is so short. I always wait too long. The result is that I have to deal with thousands of chive seedlings from eight different plants every year. In the gravel, in the dirt. Adding to the mother plant. Adding to my misery.
Fall: The expansion. The architectural element of the chives was to be so simple. So clean. The fall garden makes it easier to see that the vision is not a reality. The chive plants have overstayed their welcome. They have expanded beyond their allotted space. I hate them. Why did I ever plant chives?
Late Fall: The chives must die.
I went out to the garden to harvest the kale and ended up digging the chives instead. I had no plan to do so. I just looked at them, oozed hate toward their shaggy and unkempt appearance, grabbed my favorite garden tool (my fork, whose shaft I cracked in the process) and dug in. It was hard. And every heave, rock back-and-forth, move ten degrees clockwise, dig, rock, I was gasping for air and muttering. I. hate. these. damn. CHIVES. Hate them. Hate. *pant* *pant* I have to think that the idea of gardening as this peaceful, meditative practice, rather than the battle with nature that it actually is, is just a marketing gimmick created to make us all feel terrible about our attitudes. Or is that just me?
Anyway. The impromptu plan was to dig them all and toss them into the weeds. Or the compost pile. Would they adequately die in the compost pile? Or would they take root in there and cause me no end of problems come spring? Worse, if I tossed them into the deep grass outside the garden, would they root out there and take over our entire prairie? So many things to contemplate as I dug these horrific, good-for-nothing plants! So huge! So heavy!
Then, I noticed all the worms living in the mat of roots beneath the surface. Would they die if I heaved the 30 pound plant hunks into the void? Are worms active enough this time of year to move their locale? Maybe I should put them carefully into the compost pile. Poor little worms. Such hard workers in the garden…
Maybe I should just keep these two chive plants at the south gate entrance to the garden. You know, just in case I ever need a few chives someday.
But then. it won’t be balanced.
Maybe I should just sort of divide the chives and only replant each of the eight as a small little tuft.
Next time, I won’t let those seedheads drop their seeds.
I’ll deadhead them at the proper time.
I’ll be merciless in my patrol of the chives.
Yes this time, I’ll do a better job!
Chives are really wonderful little plants!
…And that, my friends, is the story of my gardening life. Actually it is the story of my whole life. I can’t quite put it into a nice, snide little package, but I think I painted a rather accurate picture. Some call it ‘hope’ or ‘optimism’; putting a positive spin on it. But really? Isn’t it more like stupidity?