HEATHER LIND: Oribi Mom – Ever-changing gardens for those who walk in them

It's time to prune in order to grow.

The thorn tip that attacked my wrist is finally out, and the scratched-up wrists and arms are almost healed already. This garden is thorny, and I’ve left it quite a long time to itself with small babies growing in me and then being on my hip the last few years. But this time of year is the final opportunity to get things chopped and pruned and weeded while everything is dry and dying. It’s easier to pull things out. It’s also easier to see into the dense bush and tree in case there are one of the many venomous snakes hiding. We have so many here.

So, bleeding arms, blisters, and cut up shins are just par for the course when trying to handle lantana and the many other thorny things I’m trying to get under control. There’s even an extremely poisonous vine that pops up, with three pronged leaves. Apparently, there are a few species around but the ones with purple flowers are okay.

The orange-flowered ones have poisonous fruit and leaves, so even pulling them out is a bit treacherous.
There’s always a bit of sadness, too, at seeing the gaping holes in the garden where the weeds were or where we chop it back. But come summer, that fills in rather quickly. I’m almost through the blackjacks here now. But the moon-shaped burrs are still going crazy. They’re much harder to pull out than blackjacks too. We’ll get there.

If I look back at the garden we arrived to six years ago, or rather the dense, weed-filled bush that surrounded the house, a little bit of pride pops up at how far it’s come. It’s still bushy and rough, but it’s beautiful to me. It’s growing and changing. It’s thinning out here and there and showing some results for all my hours of work. Like our family that is growing up faster than the weeds, it’s worth the struggles and the blood. And in twenty years or so, we might look back in wonder at all the progress. I hope so.


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