Friday, April 6, 2012

Evil in the garden

I believe this is a milk thistle (Silybum marianum).
Apparently it has medicinal properties, but is invasive in some areas.

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful gardener who gardened beautifully. She loved her plants and sang sweetly to them as she wandered through her gardens, gently removing weeds here and distributing life-giving essences there.

One day, as she thanked the very tough plants that guarded the front entry to her castle, she noticed a new guard among her faithful companions. It was an interesting fellow, with green and white variegated leaves and thistle-like comportment. She was a kind and gentle gardener who welcomed newcomers to her kingdom.  She bade the new plant welcome, then stepped back and let it develop as it would.

Over the next several months, the plant grew and grew, prospering in its new home. In time, it showed its gratitude by offering a tribute:  lovely purple blooms.

“Ah,” she said. “Tis beautiful, just as I suspected it would be.”

Before long, the blooms turned to fluffy seed heads, and the beautiful gardener realized that perhaps the guard plant should be removed before it relieved the other plants of their duties by overpopulating the bed.  She wasn’t willing to part with her faithful companions, so the new fellow needed to move along to its next assignment.

But the new fellow liked his new home and job and did not want to leave. When the gardener began digging up the green and white plant, now an imposing three feet tall, she discovered it had defenses: deep roots and a prickly demeanor. It fought back.

But the beautiful gardener could be tough when necessary, so she persevered in the face of such animosity and eventually was able to roust the newcomer.

“You have served me well,” she told the guard plant, “but it’s time for you to rest.” She consigned its remains to the burn pile.

The following year, as she again wandered her gardens happily, she noticed a disturbing sight. Dotted here and there in the front bed were small green and white fellows.  Her guest had, after all, left its offspring behind.

“This will not do,” she told her companions. For the rest of that summer she diligently removed the little fellows whenever they showed themselves, dumping them across the driveway in a low spot. She was a kind and beautiful gardener, but she would not be taken advantage of.

In the third year, no interlopers appeared. Of course, that was a drought year so times were tough in the kingdom. In the fourth year, the rains came and the kingdom was lush and beautiful once again.

One day, as the gardener strolled the lane in front of her castle, she glanced to the side, and shrieked in horror. “THEY ARE BACK,” she shouted to her guard plants. In her quest to be welcoming and kind, the gardener had allowed an evil being into her kingdom.

It was time to take firm and decisive action. She had to protect her kingdom from such foul fellows.   She needed to resort to the dreaded, final measure, one she rarely needed to utilize:  Round-up.

Favorite spot in the garden:

My favorite spot is near the sidewalk from our parking spots to the house. The cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana), four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa) and white autumn sage (Salvia greggii) are all blooming in concert. It is so very lovely!


  1. Ah, Sweet Beautiful Gardener...sometimes it doesn't pay to be nice....haha
    Hope the interloper is dispatched for good.

    Have a great weekend, and a Happy Easter...

    1. Thanks, Linda, and I hope yours was wonderful, also!

  2. I once allowed a lovely plant from the parsley family to increase year by year, and lend its airy flower heads to the May display. For a few years it was a pleasant, minor addition to the semi-wild garden, then suddenly it was EVERYWHERE! In the early days I called it by the common name, Hedge-Parsley, but now I use the other common name, Beggar's Ticks.

    May your kingdom remain green and your trusty castle guards endure.

  3. Who used ROUND UP? no one on a well system would do that. no one who was a good steward of nature and water would use a product so horrible, you would think. No no no, oh queen of all queens say it ain't so.

    1. Um, it's just a made up story . . . Of course I would never do such a thing.

  4. Once again, you're kind of creeping me out a bit. This whole Queen/castle/guarding the entrance and talking to your "subjects" (code for plants) are signs of a gal losing her grip. Unfortunately, I have some experience with this. My sister spends lots of time at Renaissance festivals. She imitates a witch. The line blurs at times.
    Hope you have a great Easter weekend.

    1. Now, now, I did not mention a queen or subjects . . . though perhaps I implied . . .

  5. Dear Queen

    Great story and I KNOW you will get the ending right.
    (Knowledge is power.)