Sunday, July 10, 2011

Raspberry Stinging Nettle

Over the Canada Day weekend we spent a lot of time at Wes and Kathy's place (Ben's brother's fam).  They bought their house last year, and Jenny (Ben's Ma) has been committed to helping Kathy with her flowerbeds.  To Jenny's appal, stinging nettle has established itself throughout the gardens.  I didn't really know what stinging nettle was...now I do... well, kind of. At one point over the weekend, we were lounging on the back deck,watching Jenny carefully shuffle a stinging nettle plant out of the ground by its roots.  All the while she was telling us how terrible a plant it was, that you never want to touch it, that it's so easy to get a nasty rash from it, and so on.  She then swung her shovel around and brushed Delyth (our two year old niece) across the face with the top of the plant.  Everyone gasped.   

I got the point.  This was a serious weed.  That evening at home, Ben and I looked upon our backyard differently.  I was hesitant to point out what I thought I saw: "Ben, do you think that's stinging nettle?"  Ben thought so...

Last night Isaac and I discovered ripe raspberries on our raspberry plants.  While chomping away, again, I looked around and discovered even more stinging nettle... a little shiver went up my spine... it was everywhere.
 
When I put Isaac to bed, I decided to tackle all the stinging nettle I could see.  Anything with little thorns on the stem, big leaves, and growing straight up high.  I was a bit scared... I examined the raspberry bushes and the stinging nettle suspects closely to compare them.  They grew side by side.  The leaves were similar but different.  The stems were separate and came out of the ground in different places.  There were prickly things all up and down the stems of both, but I was certain the stinging nettle thorns looked nastier and deadlier.  Yes, yes indeed... stinging nettle it was.

I put on my thick gloves and lowered a shovel carefully into the roots, with my arms outstretched, making sure the leaves didn't touch me.  I slowly but surely pulled the nettle plant up out of the ground...lo and behold, out came the raspberry bush beside it.  Phooey.  I examined both carefully... the root system was shared.  What I thought was a stinging nettle was only a part of the raspberry bush.  I guess it's a newer part of the plant, without any berries.  Sadly, what I thought was an enemy, was really my bestest friend in the whole land... now pulled out of the ground. 

Good thing we have a few more of those lovely raspberry plants (they're trying to sprout up all over our yard). 

The moral of the story is one I'll never learn: do your research, take your time, think things through before you act.

Mary Mary

1 comment:

Ben and Maryann said...

I'm an impulsive weeder myself. And an impulsive pruner.... but that's another story.

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