Thursday, April 26, 2007


PUNK GARDEN


This time of year the garden looks like a punk with green hair, insouciant, casual, certainly uncultivated. Clumps of cleavers stick up everywhere like they could care less how they look, no respect for decorum. In the early morning after a dewy night the whole thing looks like it's ready to revolt and revert to uncultivated.

I don't have a Japanese garden, needless to say; such things would never be tolerated in a staid and pristine Japanese garden. I have the opposite: a weedy, somewhat productive and nearly purely utilitarian 'garden' with a vegetable patch, several stacks of firewood and some shiitake logs, but just let me not do much for a few days around this time in Spring and WHAM! The chickweed and cleavers (opinions differ) take over the place and start giving orders to the perennial residents-- festooning the rosemary, draping from the gardenia, making the early flowers and herbs bow to their green whims and flattening the chives, though the lemon balm hangs in there.

The cleavers, which gives the garden its punk attitude, is especially prolific before the trees leaf, when it grows like a weed in a real hurry. I'll bet in a proportional race it could beat kuzu, which they say can cover a sleeping drunk. Chickweed, on the other hand, is said to be the most common weed in the world, though here it's less common than cleavers, commonness being the essence of weedness.

Fortunately though, both weeds are tasty greens (sauteed chickweed!) and have medicinal and other herbal/cosmetic uses (cleavers hair rinse!), so that takes care of a modest portion of the natural largesse - we are but a small household until the hordes arrive – but the sight of all that cleavers can be pretty intimidating in the bright morning. Weeding cleavers is like plucking at sticky green ghosts. Messy too, cause the stretchy-strandy plants don't let you toss them easily into a pile, they cleave to you in a very delicate but ultimately irritating way, like a guest you can't quite get to leave: "Well alright -- if you really --insist -- I'll go on the pile --are you sure?" You pull a few thousand of those, you can call it a morning. And there are hordes of legions out there, awaiting my next move.

These mornings of mental preparation I gaze over the punky green field of contention, planning my campaign as the countdown begins. G-day is mere days away now. They better have enough seeds in the ground by then.

2 comments:

Annette said...

Hope you're in for a democratic garden and will leave some punks hanging around...

Bob Brady said...

Yes, as a matter of fact I did, Annette, in a heavy-duty garden day; hope to have something posted about that tomorrow (my May 1). Right now is devoted to hot bath and bed...