Twice this week I got people riled up hacking out obnoxious weeds; fennel and blackberry, prominent members of the family of Great Invaders.
I was asked to advise a crew in cleaning up a triangular plot at an intersection that the city landscaped with palms and decomposed granite and let go to seed, or more accurately, to weedy grasses, fennel, and mayten suckers. The volunteer count was three; thus it was me swinging the pick at the baked granite. I got those damn roots, most of them. And then a mini-van stopped, the window went down, and a voice of consternation: “You took out the anise! You did too much. That’s the only thing that grows there. Butterflies love it. I’m a professional gardener.”
The anise was on its side. Too much? I got all thistly. She finally drove off, after making her point in several ways, with the valediction that she was going to get some and replant it. Why bother? I could have said. Every pip of root left underground is going to sprout when the rains begin.
Crime against nature number two actually occurred several weeks ago, when I helped my new neighbor Carl prune and weed his neglected garden, but I only found out the ramifications yesterday. One of the things we removed, with significant effort, was an old blackberry, intruding aggressively into the area Carl wanted to plant. He did most of the work cutting up the long canes. I dug out the root. Yesterday I learned from David, another neighbor, that Peter, who shares the fence with Carl, was horrified that the blackberry was gone, and told Carl so. It had such good blackberries. Carl probably told him it was my idea, which is true. I’m a professional gardener.
I wonder if I should apologize to Peter. I appreciate the depth of pleasure he gets in eating things his hands grow and pick. His garden is a welter of contraption that produces wonders.
The delicious blackberries are gone. I should apologize, but if Peter wants a blackberry bush, I suspect there are, or soon will be, sprouts or seedlings popping up on his side of the fence.
How about these weeds?