Vegetable Total Depravity

“I believe that I have found, if not original sin, at least vegetable total depravity in my garden; and it was there before I went into it. It is the bunch, or joint, or snake-grass,—whatever it is called…. This grass has a slender, beautiful stalk: and when you cut it down, or pull up a long root of it, you fancy it is got rid of; but in a day or two it will come up in the same spot in half a dozen vigorous blades. Cutting down and pulling up is what it thrives on. Extermination rather helps it.

Warming-Skudbygning-Fig19-Paris-quadrifolia“If you follow a slender white root, it will be found to run under the ground until it meets another slender white root; and you will soon unearth a network of them, with a knot somewhere, sending out dozens of sharp-pointed, healthy shoots, every joint prepared to be an independent life and plant. The only way to deal with it is to take one part hoe and two parts fingers, and carefully dig it out, not leaving a joint anywhere. It will take a little time, say all summer, to dig out thoroughly a small path; but if you once dig it out, and keep it out, you will have no further trouble.

“I have said it was total depravity. Here it is. If you attempt to pull up and root out any sin in you, which shows on the surface,—if it does not show, you do not care for it,—you may have noticed how it runs into an interior network of sins, and an ever-sprouting branch of them roots somewhere; and that you cannot pull out one without making a general internal disturbance, and rooting up your whole being. I suppose it is less trouble to quietly cut them off at the top—say once a week, on Sunday, when you put on your religious clothes and face,—so that no one will see them, and not try to eradicate the network within.”

Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden

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2 thoughts on “Vegetable Total Depravity

  1. The bane of my garden is comfrey. I was an idiot and planted it myself. Now it grows each year to eclipse everything else. Including my husband’s shed. Do I exaggerate? Well, only a tiny bit! Good luck with your Snake grass! Atom bomb, maybe? That’s my next weapon against the dang comfrey!

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