An English In Kentucky



















November 9th 2009

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    Ground Elder is a plant that can quickly dominate.  Like Sorel and Fat Hen, Ground Elder can be eaten by people.  But Bermuda Grass does not belong to this category of plant.  Bermuda Grass belongs somewhere darker.  Its capacities dreadful.

    Some plants are particular in the extreme.  I can think of those that grow on Chalk Downs, where ground quickly dries, and sheep trample them, but move them to softer places and it is world's end.  And when did a Teasel last grow where you wanted it to.  The answer is never.  Instead a person must risk accident and the attention of the highway patrol to even get close to the happier stands of Teasel.  

    The Scabiosa Teasels will make valiant attempts in well fluffed ground.  They are given grandiose names like 'Butterfly Blue' to encourage their purchase, and on they will struggle, but never are they quite as content as they are when amongst highway department lands or huddling upon sheep mown Downs, or being subjected to explosives in those places reserved for military activity.



    Then of course a gardener discovers that his soil is too acid for those plants that like chalk.  And this is a slippery slope into a Hades of test tubes and a series of worries which reduce imagination into that permanent warfare familiar perhaps to the medical profession.  

    In those promises a person makes to themselves I have tried never to struggle against the ambient PH of soil.  A carefree scatter of lime or a splashing of ash follows for me a pattern born from a passing moment of intuition which sometimes goes very wrong, but which at the time makes perfect sense. 

   And probably it was such an intuition that brought Bermuda Grass from its home in Africa to Kentucky.  Some football player, or golfer, or tennis player, or cowboy.  They were Looking for a green in drought rather than giraffe or elephant, I guess.

   Soon now, Bermuda Grass will tuck itself into its roots and there it will wait until June or July of next year.  Through winter and spring, it'll happily dream of shovels and claws, the stamping of feet, the robust tirade, the dawn of hatred and all those things that serve primarily to encourage it. 

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tim candler

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