My wife is master gardener. I’m glad she’s a master of the garden variety instead of, for example, a master sergeant in the Army, but there are disadvantages to her hobby. My primary concern is that as of the date of this column, we have 10,187 plants in the house. I’ve never been a math whiz, but my calculations reveal that this flora density works out to about seven vegetypes per square foot.
I’ve urgently expressed my apprehension to the wife about being so badly outnumbered, but she ignores me. I seem to recall watching a black-and-white movie in the mid-1950s called The Day They Took Over starring Jerold Shuranski. It was a terrifying account of a husband and wife who perished at the hands, err, petals of their legions of house plants. The only thing left of the wife was an apron and a few hair pins from her bun on the kitchen floor. The usher in the movie house was so frightened he ran screaming into the street where he was struck by a two-tone 1955 four-door DeSoto.
Our front porch looks like a triple-canopy jungle with lots of shapes and colors. That’s fine, but I swear, those little potted fiends are slowly edging closer to the front door. That can’t be a good sign. There’s a leafy conspiracy brewing within inches of our welcome mat, I tell you.
My stress was not lowered as I read about something called Sarracenia, a North American Pitcher plant. This professional killer lures its victims with color, smell and a nectar laced with a narcotic-type drug. Anyone wandering within striking distance is digested on the spot.
Another gang member goes by the unlikely name of Monkey Cups. There are 130 species of this carnivorous critter so they can be anywhere and everywhere at the same time, even in the shadows of some poor shlub’s front porch. The larger members of this group have been known to catch small mammals. I kid you not. A word to the wise, if you have young children, do not ring our doorbell.
At the wife’s request, I dug yet another hole in the side yard recently for a sapling that will soon be larger than I am. I was armed with a shovel, but I couldn’t help wondering if I was digging a home for the tree or my own grave for when this growth is done with me. From now on, I’m not getting out of bed in the morning without my holstered revolver strapped reassuringly to my pj’s.
As if life isn’t already threatening enough, we also have the Cobra Lilly that looks like a virulent serpent ready to strike. Honest to God, who invents these things? The internet describes it, “The leaves of the Cobra Lily are bulbous and form a hollow cavity, with an opening situated underneath a swollen, balloon like structure and two pointed leaves hanging off the end like fangs.” This villain doesn’t belong in polite society, but behind bars in a dungeon somewhere.
In high school as part of a biology experiment, I purchased a Venus Flytrap. Little did I know that this felon had digestive juices that could dissolve whole city blocks without working up a sweat. I actually slept in the same room with this malefactor. It’s a wonder I survived long enough to graduate.
My wife just asked me to water that green, blue and red plant life form in the corner of the backyard next to the shed. I’m not going out there.
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