To say that I'd let things go is an understatement. I'd let things naturalize.

That's a gardeny way of saying I'd let Mother Nature make a big, fat mess of my garden. For years, I'd been allowing the plants to do their own thing. As a result, any real sense of a garden -- with a graduated border, a sense of flow, varied heights and bloomtimes -- was long gone. What I had instead was a survivial-of-the-fittest faceoff.

Ignoring it's name, the bleeding heart had pushed past its assigned space and muscled out the meadow rue. The moneywort (a groundcover that once provided a delightful contrast to the ornamental grassess) had been invaded by the pussy toes (a groundcover from another faction of the garden), which were in turn invaded by creeping Charlie. Prairie smoke, black-eyed Susans and a pretty but persistent low-blooming clematis were all in a bloodless battle for the focal point of the garden.

Oh, and did I mention weeds? They'd been drawn into the melee, too.

After studying what had once been my garden, I decided I needed to retake my front yard. So that's how I spent my holiday weekend: dividing so I could conquer.

I started with the dozen or so wildly overgrown grasses. One by one, I dug them up, ripped out the weeds, discarded the dead stems, sawed the rootballs into bite-sized chunks and replanted them. Pshew.That's as far as I got. Thankfully, the rain saved me, or I'd be out there, still.

If I squint, I can kinda make out the shape my garden used to take. If I close my eyes, I can see the garden I hope to have: It'll be an orderly place, where plants are gently but firmly encouraged not to stray, where weeds are attacked swifty and without mercy, where humankind (me, specifically) is clearly in control.

I only have to finish what I started.