Monday, January 25, 2010

space invaders

Yesterday I pulled the ultimate weed -- a volunteer palm tree almost three feet tall. If you define weed as "a plant out of place," this one definitely qualified, as it was growing in a narrow strip of ground along the edge of the back porch.

Then I was thinking I'd prune the star jasmine that was growing behind the palm tree. Over a period of many years, I'd trained it up a six-by-eight-foot piece of wire fencing attached to the west side of the porch. In its better days, it made a fragrant wall, but keeping vines out of the rain gutters had always been a big chore. When I looked at the heavy, convoluted main branches, plus the tangle of dry twigs underlying feeble new growth, I decided jasmine must follow palm into the green bin headed for a municipal composting site.

Making the link above, BTW, I learned that star jasmine could grow to 40 feet, and that one of its common names is Confederate Jasmine. And so this "rank secessionist"* follows similar mistakes from previous years -- notably the Banks Rose and Blue Plumbago invaders -- into well deserved oblivion as I continue to take chances with creeping fig and white clematis. We live and learn (or not).

Totally exterminating the jasmine will take a few more sessions. I cut it off about six inches above ground, so there's much digging to be done. This dirty but rewarding work will create another lovely space for vertical veggies -- cukes or beans or both -- just a few steps outside the back door.

Cold cucumber soup will be so refreshing in August, with a sprinkling of chopped dill!
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*This term looms large in family lore. My mother's great aunts warned her to stay away from a certain beau because "His grandfather was a rank secessionist!"

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License