by Hanna, the
The ignominy that plagues commercial properties,
particularly apartment complexes, and the McMansions are marigolds, dusty
miller, pansies, and vinca: the slut plants. These tarts flash
their goods at cheap prices in public places. You can hardly throw
a sock full of quarters without clocking one of these vestibules of cheap
overcompensation before your weapon hits its intended target, a 30-something
year old man with 8 kids driving around in a Miata. These nutrient-
and water-guzzling Hummers of the botanical world are tacky and rarely given the
chance to grow into full specimens before being ripped out of the ground for the
next batch to take its place.
You can mark your seasonal calendars by the annual bed
changes in front of large apartment complexes from pansies and dusty miller to
marigolds and vinca. If you see the ground finally getting
covered, you know autumn is coming, which will spur a hurried rush to, “Quick,
grab your shovels! These sluts are coming out of
adolescence!” You begin to wonder if a pedophilic high-flying
banker is put in charge of these landscaping decisions – always wanting the
soft, fleshy colors and growth but as soon as the ground isn’t bare, it’s out of
the bed and into the compost.
Some annual enthusiasts blame the slightly horrific
selection of annuals on the Dutch, due to large numbers of annuals being shipped
overseas for propagation. This in turn leads to annuals returning
to the US that have produced well in the Netherlands in a prodigious
enough quantity to be shipped out to all the large nurseries in the nation,
regardless of local climate at the point of sale. With
enough water and chemical fertilizer, the plants will grow, albeit with a
chemical dependency. Then whatever chemicals aren’t absorbed by
the plants get leeched into the water supply and surrounding soils to make
addicts out of local plants and ecosystems. It is for certain that
these growers turn plants into pushers.
Annuals are not terrible creatures, but they are a product
of their environment. Therefore, everyone should do his/her part
to encourage nurseries, landscapers, and owners to search out new and exciting
plants. Even if they aren’t necessarily new and exciting, they
just shouldn’t be the same old slut plants. For example, there are
some amazing varieties of Clitoria with a smooth scoop and a beautiful
button of petals. Alternatively, annual beds could be changed to
perennial beds with a variety of Mammillaria cacti or maybe a
particularly handsome specimen of Echinopsis bridgesii
forma mostruosa inermis. They might get boring after a
while, and you might think about moving on to greener pastures.
However, a perennial is forever.
About the author: Coming out of my rebellious teenage years roughly one decade late, I'm a
struggling ecofeminist trying to discover some tolerable compromise between
comfort and conscience in Austin, TX. As a beginner/amateur gardener, I
currently have as much passion and zeal as any recent cultish convert, and I
would like to blame the following individuals: my mother and her
frazzled casserole dish of a garden; my sister and her overly-Southern-Homes
garden; Rock City in Chattanooga, TN; Paul James and his plumeria.
Author Disclaimer: I use "slut" purposefully as a word that I detest for planting practices that I
loathe. Most references in this article are tongue-in-cheek.