Sunday, June 26, 2005

Me Against the Nettles

One of my jobs here in England, in my position as houseboy for a bunch of working women, is to keep up with the gardening--it's actually a part of the girls' lease to "maintain the garden." Growing up in California, I'm used to a very different vegetable order. In California, if you don't take care of a plant, it dies. If you don't maintain your garden, you no longer have a garden.

Things are very different here. In England, especially this time of year when the heavy rain is often interrupted by sunshine, one has the opposite problem. If you don't maintain your garden, it flourishes and becomes a menace that threatens the very fabric of society. The garden here has not been touched all year, and what was once a sedate little patch of grass has become a swirling storm of bramble. And you can imagine what sort of plants thrive in this competitive environment: blackberry bushes, various thorny-frond things, and acres of stinging nettle. The last was not something I was very familiar with, until I grabbed a stalk with my bare hands and, once the tremendous pain subsided, was rewarded with all these little welts that have swelled up my fingers.

Tomorrow, I buy gardening gloves and a more sturdy pair of gardening shears. I shall tame this garden if it kills me.

1 comment:

Violet Vixen said...

Find (or plant) some hollyhocks for me! They feature prominently in the play I'm working on.