Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Intrepid Warrior and The Bush

By Ralph C. Quinn

I don’t think there is much in life that really scares me anymore; other than perhaps the usual morbid curiosity and fear one has for his own demise, failing health, the usual life worries or maybe that old tree growing over our bedroom.

But I find myself in a battle that has gone on for years with an insidious foe that is undefeatable……….the hydrangea bush.

The foe is insatiable in its appetite for earth; creeping and crawling, under, over and through anything in its path. I am convinced it cannot be killed!!! I thought I had defeated the one in the backyard. Digging it up along with the earth around it for five feet in all directions, delicately sifting through the dirt down as far as four feet, removing every bit of root and fiber. Gleefully burning some in the fireplace, filling the hole with a goodly dose of defoliant, root killer, used motor oil and anything toxic I could think of………nothing has grown there in over eight years, not even weeds.

Last year several shoots of hydrangea popped up and I could hear them laughing.

I would hate to try and remove the one out front altogether (if that is even possible without irradiating everything for six blocks in every direction) as it is extremely old (and clever) and is not a hybrid. It’s a genuine Hydrangea macrophylla, probably around 140 years old and I truly believe it is immortal. It is worse to deal with than a career politician and more stubborn than my late Grandmother. I would pump a slurry of ammonium nitrate and diesel under it and blow it to kingdom come, but I fear my neighbors would frown on it.
Especially after it began growing in their yards after the roots distributed themselves around the city.

So here I am…..back hurts and neck is stiff from digging a trench around it and pulling roots as they crawl under the house and the lawn as I try to at least keep it in one place. I am sure the pile of roots out front at the curb, which is bigger than the bush itself was when blooming last year, is confusing to those passing by who may wonder just where the hole is for the huge tree I must have dug up.

So the battle goes on, the war will never end.

Those that believe that after we finally immolate ourselves in that great nuclear blast that the only things living will be rats and cockroaches…….

…….haven’t ever done battle with a hydrangea.

 Copyright Ralph C. Quinn, 2013

Ralph C. Quinn is a lifelong resident of Utica, New York.  Born there in 1959, Ralph has lived and traveled extensively across the United States. He is presently a Manager for a national restaurant chain. Married to Bett,y he is the father of 7 children and grandfather of 12.  Ralph’s main interests are Martial Arts, the study of Far Eastern Religions, Philosophy and music. He Admins several forums, writes for the sheer joy of telling stories and still makes his home in Utica with Betty, their flock of 9 parrots and their Siamese cat Kao K'o-Kung.

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