Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hardy Orange

We have a volunteer tree/shrub/hedge/bush along one side of the fence in the back yard that has thorns longer than my index finger. We've let it get out of hand the last couple of years, and since it's a fast-growing thing it's gotten about 12' tall. We HAD to get in there and trim it back before it took over the entire right half of the yard. It was already impinging on the grotesquely over-sized nandina the dog uses as a scratching post. It's one of the few plants that are surviving the drought this year so I almost hated to whack it back. Almost.

It's green and springy so we can't burn it (ignoring for a moment the burn ban we've been under for months) and with those thorns it's a major ordeal even considering trimming it to 3' or less pieces so the garbage will pick it up. Even if we trimmed it to size and bundled it, I don't think they get paid enough to actually pick it up once they see the size of the stickers. It looks like something from the walls of Cinderella's castle. Was she the one with the castle fortified with brambles?

Anyway, we got it cut back with a minimum of injury and only a little blood, but we now have a 10' wide, shoulder-high tangle of the stuff just sort of lying there threatening us. No idea how we're going to get rid of it short of buying U-Haul boxes and packing it up so we can put it out for the garbage. Maybe we'll just leave it there until it composts back into the earth. It would be just my luck it would re-seed right there though and then we'd have a million of them to deal with instead of just three. I was considering intentionally planting some along the other fence line though where the really ugly fence is but I'd rather have wisteria. Too bad it's only the scary, dangerous stuff that roots so easily and grows so fast. The hardy orange took root and thrived in way less time than it took the mock orange right next to it to even set blooms.

By the way, in case there was any doubt that Southerners were strange, this plant is commonly called a gumdrop tree, and people actually use it as a centerpiece with gumdrops stuck on the thorns. "Hey honey, it's Little Becky's third birthday! What say we chop off a hunk of that deadly weapon plant in the back and stick bright colored candy on it to camouflage the thorns for the kiddies!"

At least it has too many off-shoots to make a good switch.

For a reasonably good picture of the whole thing, check out


sion said...

wow, that stuff's awesome. I'm totally going to use it as the brambles when I get around to the Sleeping Beauty piece. I'd be so tempted in your shoes to find a way to use a few thorns or a branch. Glad it's in your yard & not mine though <G>

PS, re your comment - my idea of OMG SO BUSY is probably everybody else's idea of almost comatose, so "the book" is as much on the cards now as it was a month ago *snort*

Tanya Brown said...

Holy cow! You weren't kidding about this stuff being thorny. Actually, I'm not sure those are thorns so much as they are organic daggers.

This is definitely a keeper for times when there are neighbor problems, or to plant beneath the window of a kid who tries to escape and get into trouble at night.