Out of my Shell

Green Mean

I’ve pensioned off a few of my “bouncer plants” (aka weeds), and I feel bad about it.  Faced with a section of dead ground as hard as cement, so compacted gardening implements twanged in terror, I adopted a rehabilitation program that requires a thick skin – it is not popular, or trendy. 

My methods are unorthodox. Time-consuming creative projects led to gardening taking a backseat to bouncing up and down Me! Me! Pick me! ideas. 

The only plant willing to root in the aforementioned barren, tough-as-nails soil was the perky, nothing-gets-me-down dandelion. The sunny sweethearts rocked up and thrived, altering the mood of this grumpy patch. I didn’t have to do a thing, other than create a low boundary wall with dead branches; a primitive fence that tells the gardening service they needn’t mow the area.

Word got round. Other bouncer plants arrived, their strong legs and robust limbs dealing effectively with any threats to vulnerable, upper echelon plants partying in the now loosened-up soil. That’s the beauty of bouncer plants. They shelter and protect the spoiled star plants we all love, want, plant, and roll out the red carpet for. The bouncers do so with quiet strength and dignity, despite being snubbed and despised by most, most of the time.  

Rosemary slips (deliberately cultivated) and a juvenile Bulbinella (it ran away from home and housed itself next to a bouncer plant, only to be discovered by me this morning) had a fighting chance because their bad rep cousins took low-paying security jobs to keep them safe. 

I hereby state, emphatically, that dandelions are not weeds. Trendy people shamed them into being such. The aristocracy wished to let the poverty-stricken general populace know that they, the rich niche, were so fat with wealth they need not plant crops (of which dandelion was one). They had enough in their burgeoning coffers to cultivate immaculate, money-green, silky lawns to sashay across, coming up with new ways to inflict misery on their servants. I got this info from The History Guy on YouTube. As usual, I stumbled upon him in the nick of time. I can adequately defend myself against well-meaning detractors. The lawn you mow every two weeks, on a Saturday afternoon, has status symbol roots.   

If I had my way, we’d have meadows buzzing with bees and “weeds”; barbaric gardens running wild. It’s distressing witnessing happy, nodding, sunshiny flowers beheaded by the spinning gut of whirring weed eaters. Understandably, my penchant for occasional, quiet rebellion is unnerving. The untamed aesthetic is unappealing to mow-mow eyes: just too many -uns to bear. It denotes sloppiness, laziness, carelessness, crassness: just too many -ess’ to bear.

This morning, in the hot sun, I broke the news to a few of my bouncer plants – they were being pensioned off. Pensioned off is a euphemism. The bouncer plants are left to shrivel up and die if they’re not used in a soup or stew.  

When I pulled them from their turf what remained was loose, dark soil. Their legwork had revitalized the neighborhood, with no effort on my part.  

There is one life-sucking, spiraling, throttle creeper that plagues our little complex. I pull it out with a derisive grunt. Other than that, I find yanking up growing things a challenge. I forget these feelings when it comes to vegetables, perhaps because their inherent purpose is to feed us? I dunno, maybe it’s double standards. 

Now I feel green mean. I’m going to stop here, before I dig myself an even bigger hole… 

xxx TeaShell