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Friday, March 20, 2009

Birds are Back to Attack (March 20, 2009)

San Diego, CA. 58 degrees. Gray skies. Cold.

It’s the first day of Spring today, and ironically, also the first cold, gray day here in a while. Six months ago I marked today’s date on my calendar. I wanted to be sure that I checked back in with my beautiful enemy today. You know who I mean (no, not Angelina Jolie): our backyard Bird of Paradise plant.

Six months ago today the bird and I fought a messy battle. It was coincidence that I cut down the bird on the Autumn Solstice, but in retrospect it seemed significant because the solstice marks the end of an old phase the beginning of a new one. That was a warm September day, and it took five hours to cut down hundreds of stalks, load them into the wheel barrow and into Hubby’s truck bed. At the computer that afternoon, after I’d taken the bird down, my fingers twitched and my arms ached but nevertheless I had to write about the battle.

Today, six months later, it is cold, but the birds were out in their spring finery as I took their photo. There are currently eight flowers on this plant (two are a double-headed beauty on one stalk). She is about 30 inches tall, with no watering help from me.

If you heard about the battle six months ago, you know it was no easy feat taking her down. She’s gorgeous and it’s not that I didn’t like her. But she’d been there long before we moved in (maybe as many as twenty years), bullying the nearby plants for turf, and winning every time. She had a monopoly on the back yard real estate and it was time to even things up a little.

At the time I did not have my blog yet, so today I’ll post the essay from six months ago. I entitled it “Flipping the Bird,” and I’ll include a photo from that fateful day, as evidence of her growth in six months. All I really wanted was to get the plant to a manageable size. I’ll let her grow again but this time I’m keeping an eye on her. Give that girl and inch, and well, you know…

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