A Conversation for The h2g2 Post 23.08.21

feed the birds, weed the weeds, try to see the good in things

Post 1

paulh, hiding under my bed

When I was younger and stronger, I planted things that would produce seedheads that birds could feast on during the winter. Coneflowers (the ones that the woodchucks missed), Rudbeckia, perennial sunflowers that have taken over a third of my yard. Wild roses that produce red rosehips. Holly that produce berries. All of them lovely in summer, some of them also lovely in winter with vibrant reds. And they are native.

But there is vegetative evil in the land: invasives that were brought to these shores by the naive. Japanese knotweed (brought to Brookline because it was graceful, a poor man's bamboo. Multifloral rose (a white rose, also form Japan). Oriental bittersweet (see a pattern here? smiley - winkeye). No sign yet of Giant Hogweed, that Russian native that was originally cultivated as cattle fodder, until people realized that it made milk bitter, and could burn and scar humans on contact. new York state has some, as do the British Isles.

I spend seven or eight months a year going around to pull up or tear the leaves from these monsters, so our lovely natives stand a chance.

Oriental bittersweet and Black swallowwort are strangling trees in my neighborhood. They climb telephone poles and wind around electrical wires. Like green cancer.





feed the birds, weed the weeds, try to see the good in things

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

Not to mention kudzu, the plant that ate the South. It turns fields into art installations and makes people worry about what's under it.


feed the birds, weed the weeds, try to see the good in things

Post 3

paulh, hiding under my bed

I think we may be a bit too cold for kudzu to thrive here. But then, global warming may be changing that. smiley - smiley

Still, I'm pretty sure I've never seen kudzu growing here. We have enough other invasives.

In a famine, might kudzu be nourishing enough to live on? Just wondering.


feed the birds, weed the weeds, try to see the good in things

Post 4

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

The Atlanta Journal claims, '"Kudzu seeds and seed pods aren't edible, but the leaves, roots, flowers and vine tips are," said Raleigh Saperstein, senior horticulturist at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. ... Kudzu flowers may hold the most uses for those looking to get something tasty out of the vine. Yes, kudzu has flowers.'

Who knew? smiley - laugh I never knew anybody who'd tried to eat the stuff. Just cursed at it.

I used to live in southwest North Carolina. In summer, whole fields and houses disappeared under the kudzu. Like the tree in the picture: A87873628


feed the birds, weed the weeds, try to see the good in things

Post 5

paulh, hiding under my bed

Oriental bittersweet, combined with fox grapes, overwhelms trees here. Fox grapes are native in the Northeast U.S., and the best-known cultivar is Concord grapes. In floodplains they can pretty much take over. They can even surmount the true invasives.

I had a friend who wanted the fence along our entrance ramp to be covered with grapevines. She seems not to have noticed that the vines were already there. smiley - huh They're still there. I tried growing them from seed (unsuccessfully), but nature meanwhile was propagating them right and left.


feed the birds, weed the weeds, try to see the good in things

Post 6

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

smiley - laugh Yeah, my sister's got grapevines on her farm - they make great jelly and home-canned grape juice.

In the Southern Appalachians, we have muscadine grapes - which my grandmother called 'musky dimes'. They'd find them growing everywhere, like the fruit trees. Most of this stuff was feral: abandoned homesteads over the centuries left fruit trees and vines in old fields. The farmers knew where to forage them - we'd go to the 'Old Home Place' for blackberries, 'up the mountain' for huckleberries, which are really wild, over to 'Old Man So-and-So's Place' for peaches, etc.


feed the birds, weed the weeds, try to see the good in things

Post 7

paulh, hiding under my bed

I eat red grapes for an evening snack every night. I'd rather have Concord grapes, but I don't think they have a seedless version.


Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more