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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fiend in Fern Form

      When I saw big pots of asparagus fern for sale in BJ's the other day, I had to stifle an "NNNNGH" worthy of Miss Piggy. Asparagus fern. Stores sell it. People pay money for it. And I can't get rid of it in my yard.
It creeps through the fence, as you see on the right.
It luxuriates under the azaleas, as you see below.
 It sprouts innocent-looking, pale green pioneers which soon send runners out in every direction, like the ones lurking behind the blossoms below. 


The stems get thicker, and they produce nasty little thorns that make it impossible to pull the little blighters up without leather gloves. If you don't get the roots, new stems pop up in a trice. Asparagus fern! Did someone actually buy a potful and plant it somewhere near my house? Thanks a lot, unknown person. Couldn't you find any plague-bearing rats to introduce? Or rabid bats? Who thinks this noxious weed is pretty? Who thinks it should be cultivated? Bizarrely enough, biology students-- horticulture students? obnoxiousness students?-- grow the stuff in the greenhouse attached to the Hillsdale College science building. When I saw it during a weekend visit, I nearly collapsed in a paroxysm of irony. Unless they are growing it to find an antidote, (Aside from being invasive, it's poisonous in leaf and berry.) I want to tell them "Noooooooo!" but no one is there to hear my protest.
  If that weren't enough, they also had pots of other green vermin, the "tuberous sword fern," which would take over every yard in Florida if homeowners slacked in their vigilance. Sheesh. I've yanked it out by the bushel and still alarm the neighbors when I attack the ubiquitous new sprouts with a loud "yaaaa!" 
   Please, please, growers of green things, not every plant is your friend. Beware the photosynthetical rabbit, the botanical tribble, the wire coat hanger of the plant world. The sanity you save could be mine.


  1. I can never believe it when I see asparagus fern for sale. I think of posting a sign on it with my address and an invitation to come dig up as much as you want for free. I can't believe people would actually pay for it.

  2. I had the same thought. Then there was the time a landscaper gave us some leftover bamboo. I was sure he went to landscaper conventions and told his brothers about the great trick he played on these rubes.

  3. Oh the leather leaf... I could only muster up the energy to find one of the rose bushes swallowed by it. The other bush is having to fight it out on its own. But I think all the struggle with the asparagus fern is worth it just for the beautiful photograph of your fence.

  4. :-D That's one of those silver lining things.