Monday, March 11, 2013

The Bermuda Triangle of plant death

When I was a child pretending to help my Dad dig a hole in the yard, he would always say if we dug down deep enough we would reach China. I knew the earth was really big and round. Rather than know he was joking, I came to the conclusion that China was inside the earth. I thought if you dug down deep enough, you would reach a big hollow part of the earth, and that is where all the Chinese people lived. I felt sorry that they had to live in the dark. Having a very active imagination and assuming I knew everything, I also believed that getting sued meant being killed by a jack-hammer and that hell was under the Watt Avenue bridge. Yes, hell fire and damnation right there in the old hop fields.

What really happens if you dig down deep enough in the yard? I now know that there is a giant ball of Bermuda grass inside the earth and all gardeners are tugging at it at once, including Chinese people. And what doesn't kill Bermuda grass only makes it stronger. I have come to detest the stuff. It gives me headaches, blisters and an aching back. And it just keeps getting stronger.

Maybe instead of fighting Bermuda grass, we should celebrate it. There could be clubs, such as the Bermuda Grass Society of Northern California.  "My, what long strands yours have, what are you feeding it? Nothing at all? This happens with no help from you whatsoever? What an amazing brown thumb you must have."

If the Bermuda Grass Society of Northern California needs a photo for their website, the area off our back steps is no longer an option. We put down cardboard and smothered this section of our yard in about 6 inches of shredded bark. Whether it works or not remains to be seen - it certainly makes the dying camellia bush look snazzier. The Bird of Paradise is asking for a Hawaiian vacation, but for now it will be staying put. If the weeds dare to come back we have a special place for them under the Watt Avenue bridge.

Bark on the right, Bermuda on the left
Bird of Paradise? Poor bird.