Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OPEN UP A CAN OF WORMS (08/22/19)
- TITLE: A Seedy Takeover
By Barbara Lynn Culler
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That question cropped up a few weeks after hanging a plastic bird feeder on my pergola. I believed that it would be fun to watch the sweet critters enjoy the wild-bird food offered to them. How was I to know it would wreak havoc throughout my tidy little courtyard?
The misadventure started the moment I poured food into the feeder, spilling some onto the patio below. I felt no remorse ignoring seeds scrambling toward the empty flower beds; you see, I’m a plant murderer. I’d already killed off the lantana, marigold and sunflowers, and the marguerite daisy bush was in the final throes of death. Because of this criminal record in gardening, I didn’t realize that I’d end up farming meals for my feathered friends.
The birds were fun to watch — even the neighbor’s cats enjoyed studying them. Little wrens and sparrows perched at the feeder, chirping their hearts out while spewing seed. I’d forgotten how messy birds were, having survived two parakeets in my earlier years. Cleaning the patio should have been a daily chore, but it wasn’t. When I did get out there, I haphazardly swept at the seeds, often brushing them toward the dirt garden.
My laziness backfired when suddenly there were six-inch grassy stalks encircling the yard. They thrived. Daisy died. Since I was so busy with work, I let the feral plants grow — just to see what would arise. What rose up were foot-high stalks resembling ears of wheat. Because I was too tired to care, I ignored the situation. Within minutes, plantzilla overtook the once-vacant dirt beds.
The positive side of burying my head in the sand was that since I rescinded their feeder, the birds came and ate from the seeding plants. Conversely, spies from the home owners association were unappreciative of the jungle in my backyard. I figured this out upon receiving the violation notice highly encouraging me to clear out the yard or risk an outrageous monetary fine.
I strive to be a conscientious home owner, so ripped out all plant life, replacing with weed-deterring river rock. Unfortunately, the uncultured trespassers figured out new points of entry, arriving en masse with their friends and cousins.
It’s been a few years now, yet rogue plants continue erupting overnight, growing three feet in height if I’m not diligent in decimating the scoundrels. I’ve given up on enjoying pretty plants, and the birds are no more, unless I provide stale bread.
No one has been able to give an answer about my question of wily weeds and fainting flowers, so I continue suppressing the unwanted plants. Honestly, I wished that I’d never hung that blooming bird feeder!
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