Right up there with Kudzu. After weed whackin’, choppin’, and pullin’ for five hours I got my first patch knocked down. I liberated some bear plant, a couple of nandinas, a large patch of tiger lilies and iris and what I think is wild almond. A lot of honeysuckles and wild blackberries came out too. Sorry for droppin’ my gees but I do that when I’m tired… I’m very tired. I’ve still got two patches to go… did I mention I’m sore? Oh, my everloving back!
Some fool decided to introduce privet to the US from Asia in the 1700s. It’s called a hedge, but I find it to be a very un-hedge like hedge. It’s not thick like a hedge I would want or I’m not growing it correctly. Privet roots creep underground and send up shoots when it senses sunlight and creeps along some more and sends out more shoots, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera until you have a patch the size of Rhode Island.
Folks from the US must not be very bright… nothing political there… much. After Asian privet… why would we think Asian kudzu was a good idea? I’m a dumb American, I followed up with Asian honeysuckle…not that it is a problem… oh yes, it is! Pretty, aromatic and a problem… except on an early summer’s night when the scent reaches me, carried through my open windows by a gentle breeze.
Privet…a problem at best. I normally cut down my privet two or three times a year… along with the kudzu, honeysuckle, and blackberry that tangles themselves with it. I had some health issues last summer and I think I must have missed a whackin’ or two. Between privet, kudzu, blackberry and the local variety of honeysuckle I probably could stay busy with twelve-hour days during the summer. I just try to stay a little behind. It helps that my wife won’t let me touch the Asian honeysuckle under threat of a frying pan upside my head.
Privet does put off some white blossoms in the spring… and poisonous, blue-black berries in the summer. Don’t believe the privet blossoms have a scent but I know if I don’t get the plant down before it blooms, my bride won’t let me touch it.
I didn’t always hate privet. Right outside my grandmother’s backdoor was a patch of privet…patch? More like a …a forest of privet. Way tall privet, not hedge-like at all. She had allowed it to grow redwood style and then hollowed out the center of the patch to create an outdoor room. Protected from the harsh summer sun, she kept the running roots clipped when they poked their little heads out of the ground. Kept the dirt swept clean with a twig broom. It was OUR hidden retreat from the summer sun, a bountiful garden that grew a child’s imaginative games. Good memories!
I remember chasin’ lightning bugs through the canopy created by the privet or making mud pies using the dark soil as a primary ingredient. I remember singin’, “Doodlebug, Doodlebug, fly away home, your house is on fire and your kids are all gone” over a hole in the ground not knowin’ what a doodlebug was or why his house was on fire.
I remember jaybirds fighting over the cracked corn my grandmother put out on her feeders. Their chatter was loud and raucous. Sitting and listening to bird calls while my grandmother broke beans or cut corn. Hearing her say, “Listen chile, that’s a catbird” or a mocking bird or whatever.
I remember hoppin’ on a wide flat rock and havin’ it walk off with me standing on it. Dang big turtle…course I wasn’t very old or big. Had soup that night, too. Yum.
Yeah, that privet wasn’t too bad. I must raise bad privet…at least bad privet rekindled a few memories.
Don Miller’s author’s page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM. Stop by and like.