15 Mar 2009

Thorns in my side

It’s a nice sunny day outside, about 7°C, and I’ve just finished cutting down a rather large and thorny bush. Of course, I’m all scratched and bleeding in several places, not to mention accidently stepping onto one of the cut branches and having the damn thorns run through my footwear.

This makes me wonder at the English idea of horticulture. Many a time, I have seen the most ugly plants in gardens, and even more times, plants that have no flowers, or will flower for a couple of weeks throughout the year. Not my idea of beautifying my garden, I can tell you. Personally, I prefer plants that have lovely colourful flowers, even if I have to change them several times a year to keep my garden in bloom.

This particular bush I trimmed (cut back to almost 20% of the previous size) does have some nice red berries in autumn, but other than that, it’s a hassle to maintain. It doesn’t even belong to me, but to the neighbour, who incidentally is renting.

Thorny bush with berries

Sure, the berries (that’s the bush in the photo above) look nice before they turn black and fall off, but is it worth it to have all that thorns about? I hardly think so. If you look carefully, you can see the massive thorns, and being a sort of hardwood, they are really stiff and dangerous, quite capable of going through the sole of a shoe.

The bigger headache is not chopping the bush, but in getting rid of the chopped branches. As I told Punks, in Trinidad I’d just throw it on a heap, wait for it to dry and set a fire to it. In England, fires are forbidden, against the law, won’t you know?

I can get the City Council to pick up the pieces, but guess how this is done? I have to chop up all those branches into 6 or 8 inch pieces, put them into special green garbage bags and book an appointment for the Council to come pick them up. Imagine the headache to chop up about 12 branches, each about 8 to 10 feet long, into small bits to fit into a garbage bag. Imagine doing that with all the thorns in the way.

Sigh. Sometimes the rules are worth breaking.