I have bragged before about my skills in gardening – there is hardly a plant that I can’t kill off within one or two growing seasons. I say “hardly” because of that one pesky exception. My nemesis. My yucca plant. The declaration I made last fall of his imminent demise was premature because I hadn’t calculated in the visit from Lyart and her notorious green thumb. She took pity on him and seemingly that one watering was enough to get him through the long dry winter. (Thanks a lot, Ly.) I dragged him back outside today, but didn’t water him because . . . you know . . . rain. It’s the same logic I use to justify never washing my car.
Anyway, this act of mercy was a part of my spring gardening binge. It is a yearly event on the first day of spring when 1) winter coats are not necessary, 2) the sun is shining, 3) it’s the weekend, 4) there is some other work I should be doing that is even less appealing – like, say, ironing, and 5) I can’t think of anything to write about. This year’s binge consisted of halfheartedly raking some of the leaves out of one of my three flowerbeds and cutting back about 2/3rds of what the google tells me is called “staghorn sumac”. I saw it somewhere in fall a few years ago when it had turned brilliant orange-ish red-ish, so I took a little plantling and set it on the edge of my lawn near the driveway. The following year in fall, this is what it looked like:
And now, of course, it is everywhere! These things are coming up in every flowerbed, ten, even 20 yards away from the original invader. If I had done a little research before planting the first one, I might have reconsidered: Wikipedia tells me that they are “most often found in dry and poor soil on which other plants cannot survive”, i.e. a fairly accurate description of my garden. I also learned that they have a “vigorous suckering habit” – which I don’t understand, but boy is it ever true! They keep me clipping and whacking and sawing and hacking all summer long. By now I would need a small nuclear bomb to completely rid my garden of them and all their underground tentacles. If one of these things ever sprouts through my basement room floor, I am selling the house and moving.