Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The source of irritation

It’s easy to think that US Republicans or America’s current ruling junta are my main sources of irritation. Okay, maybe that’s true, but at the moment my main physical irritant is Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), pictured above, which is in full flower.

Privet was introduced as a hedge plant and escaped to become established in much of the country (this is a repeating story in NZ, and a subject in its own right). It’s now considered a pest plant, meaning that it’s illegal to sell, propagate or even move the plant in most areas, though it’s not compulsory for land owners to remove it. Contrast that with noxious plants that normally do have to be removed because they spread so quickly.

The main problem with privet is its spring flowering season (now). It’s strongly scented and its pollen is an irritant to many people, like me. It’s also known to cause problems for asthmatics. For me, it just irritates my sinuses, not blocking them as much as making them feel burning. It gives me headaches. All of which can make me feel irritated and grumpy. I hate the thing.

The privet plants nearest to our house are pretty big—as big as a single car garage—so if the land owners removed them it would leave a pretty big hole in their landscaping (there’s no privet on our property, of course). So, for a few weeks each year I have to just endure it.

So, while the Republicans irritate me morally, intellectually, spiritually, existentially and a few other words ending in “-ly” that I can’t think of at the moment, it’s privet that’s making me feel truly miserable. Hopefully, the Republicans won’t get the chance to do take over privet’s job after the
US election is over.


Anonymous said...

There is a large privet tree right outside my office window. It is 29 degrees celsius in the office so the window has to be open. There are desk fans blowing sickly privet fumes all over me ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH ITCH ITCH ITCH!!!!!

Arthur Schenck said...

If I had my way, they'd all be ripped out!