Thursday, December 02, 2004


Nanten (Nandina domestica) is the plant that grows and spreads and grows again beside the big rock that pokes up through one end of our deck (geomanticotraditionally, nanten is always grown somewhere at the north end of a house) but even though I’ve been trimming our nanten back at least twice a year ever since we moved in and because nanten just has an aesthetic look about it (it’s also known as Sacred bamboo or Heavenly bamboo, though it’s not a bamboo) and is so hardy (the wood of the stems is strong and decay resistant, making it excellent for garden stakes) and the birds love the berries that come out in fall and stay all winter (for the wingless, the berries are used to treat sore throats and the like), nanten and I have a relationship that I value.

Even when I’m hunkered down in the summer heat with a handsaw trying to keep from swearing as I work my way in amidst the army of nanten stalks marching straight and tall to take over our front garden I have to love the stuff, it’s so spindly at bottom, yet hardy, everleaved, with its bright red berries and leaves that are living rainbows through the year-- and in winter it does this dark green dance in the falling snow--

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