Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What I Hate!

I enrolled in a new school last week and hopefully start classes sometime in January. I'm not looking forward to 45 minute commute everyday, but hopefully I'll get a nice 2 year degree in Horticulture. (Or learn enough to not care about finishing the degree.) I'm predicting getting into a lot of arguments with teachers and being difficult as a whole. It's not that I'm trying to enroll only to be expelled, it's just I'm expecting to have to learn a whole lot about plants I completely hate like Bradford Pears, and Mums.

Unfortunately it seems like the ornamental industry has some secrete goal in mind to landscape all of North America with nonnative plants. When people think of the average American home they usually paint a picture of a two story home, with a red door, white picket fence, a beautiful lawn, and (most oddly of all) plants that have been imported from Asia, Europe, and occasionally Africa. There is mostly a European influence as far as design goes but no one seems to realize how un-American most American homes look.

My most hated weed outside right now is grass. Specifically what's called torpedo grass; so named for it's tendency to produce suckers from it's roots, as well as creep along the ground like a vine setting new roots down as it goes. It is an awful nightmare and imposable remove completely. The only effective method I've found to get rid of it is laying down cardboard in huge sheets and allow the summer sun to cook it's dried husk. This is hard to do though in the perennial beds where I have a number of plants reproducing in the same way and setting seeds. The downside to cardboard is it takes time to decompose and needs a top dressing of soil to look nice.

I bought a Bradford Pear tree once before I realized exactly what it was. I work at a movie theater and the complex is surrounded by Bradford Pear trees. I always knew them as the trees that bloom every spring. Really a one hit wonder at best. But I've worked at the theater for (goodness) 9.5 years now (since I was able to work) and never have I seen trees with such ugly bark. Sure the form and the flowers look nice but take a moment to look at the trunk. Bradford Pears are made of incredibly soft wood. It's not uncommon during a storm for a branch, sometimes as much as half of the entire tree to break off and crash onto a car out in the parking lot. Almost always a handicap person's space too!

Recently when going back to my old high school (to get my transcript transfered) I realized there were Bradford Pears all around the school! Thankfully away from the cars. As I walked down memory lane I realized I couldn't find a single tree that didn't have some sort of scaring. A number of them had started to hollow out too! These are really awful trees. So after realizing what I'd bought (I'm a spontaneous shopper) I immediately broke the dam thing in half. This was a tree I bought maybe 4 hours prior and I didn't even want to try and get my money back. I really hate these awful trees.

So hopefully when I start going to classes I don't have to use them in anyway. I don't even think they make good firewood. Unfortunately they seem to be a norm for the field I hope to move into.

It's not all hatred though. I do like some nonnatives. Crape Myrtles look pretty but are kind of boring I think. Seven Son Tree, Heptacodium miconioides, is probably a much better way to stand out though since Crape Myrtles have become so standard. It's a bit smaller tree, has white flowers that bloom about now (frankly I can't find anything else that's a tree that is blooming now), and they shortly turn to showy purple "fruit." Which looks like a smaller unopened flower. People selling Seven Son Trees say in their native land that they're "rare" and thus could never go invasive, but this is clearly a sales pitch if I ever herd one. One benefit, I'm happy to see, is they're a caterpillar host plant! I have one planted in my yard and it has a small web of some type of web worm on it. They're actually burrowing into the leaves, but I've already witnessed plenty of spiders and wasps picking them off. And it's odd that I'm witnessing this so frequently. In a matter of two days I think all the caterpillars were devoured even with their tent. I would have photos of this but .... photobucket is demanding money (the bastards).

So sorry to abruptly end but this has just been me rambling at 2 in the morning.