When I bought my house in Stockton in 1997, I wanted a big yard with some trees. It had a huge sycamore and two Modesto ash trees, plus a peach and orange. After twenty years here I’ve planted a redwood, Chinese tallow, weeping cedar, and a jacaranda. I planted seven more fruit trees around the edges of the property and have allowed two “volunteers” to take up residence.
Trees in my neighbor’s yards shower me with dates and privet seeds. The birds love the seeds but I spend countless hours digging up sprouted palms and privets before their roots get so deeply established that I’ll never get them out.
The back yard was covered with Bermuda grass and I particularly don’t like it because it sends out streamers in all directions from a hub along the ground under other grasses and wild flowers. When I least expect it my foot will get snagged in one of these tough steamers and trip me.
When I had a riding mower I didn’t think about it, I just cut it every two weeks. After ten years here I decided to plant flowers in the backyard because the yard was boring.
To clear even a small plot maybe three foot by six foot was a huge amount of work because Bermuda roots are very deep, and unless you can get almost all of it out it will be back in a week or so.
In my forth-coming memoir, I write about digging up these roots:
“I spend many daylight hours digging out Bermuda grass roots in February. These roots are old and gnarly, which make them interesting from an artistic point of view. I start putting the best ones aside. I want to make an art piece with them. My idea is that many bad things have roots that go way back in time, and many good things have come from good roots. In this mixed-media work, I add words such as hate, violence, greed, fear, and love, peace, and faith. I title the work “Roots Matter” and it is accepted in the 2012 Lodi Spring Show.”
I used actual roots held on with heavy body gel.
My son’s wife liked the piece. I didn’t have a good place to hang it at my house so on one of my trips to visit them I took it with me.
It was a delight to see it again when I visited this year in June.