The Nandina Bush

Our time at home during this coronavirus event is the perfect time to get outside and beautify your yard. However, if anyone ever tells you to plant a nandina bush, shoot them in the goddamn foot. It would be a shame if you missed and took out an entire leg, but, if you did, well, they told you to plant a goddamn nandina bush, didn’t they? 

Nandinas are native to Asia and they are sometimes called “heavenly bamboo” or “sacred bamboo.” Let’s establish, that that’s only the first lie about this piece of shit plant. It’s NOT bamboo. It’s not “heavenly” and anybody who holds it sacred must belong to some truly pitiful douchebag religion. The nandina is part of the Berberidaceae family of plants, which includes the barberry, and if that’s your best relative you’ve got a pretty worthless damn family. Some son-of-a-bitch named William Kerr brought the nandina from China to England in 1804 and then SOME son-of-a-bitch brought it to the United States. And someone convinced some son-of-a-bitch who owned my house before I owned it to plant fucking nandina bushes in the yard. It will probably take nuclear annihilation to get rid of them, because nothing has worked yet. 

Asshole landscapers love the damn things, because nandinas have lovely foliage and produce beautiful red berries that attract gorgeous songbirds and landscapers’ idiot clients say “Sure, I’ll take three.” It’s especially attractive to cedar waxwings, one of America’s MOST beautiful songbirds and one with a particularly sweet little song if you’re lucky enough to hear it. Unfortunately, after cedar waxwings gorge on the berries of the nandina bush they sing a song with bird lyrics that go something like “What the fuck did I just eat?” 

And then they die. 

Yes, nandinas, or “heavenly bamboo” send songbirds to heaven, because those beautiful red berries contain a significant amount of cyanide. Cyanide. That’s the same thing that Jim Jones put in his Guyana Kool-Aid. And, yes, Kool-Aid company, I know it wasn’t really YOUR Kool-Aid, it was some shitty off-brand, because Jim Jones was not only a homicidal maniac, he was a cheap motherfucker, too. In fact, the whole fucking nandina plant contains cyanide, so if Jim Jones’ didn’t want to pony up for pure cyanide he probably could’ve just boiled the roots, the stems, the leaves or the berries and mixed it with that goddamn cut-rate Kool-Aid and killed everybody at a real discount. Goddamn nandinas are everywhere. I’m sure they’ve spread to Guyana. 

Nandinas spread both by runners AND seeds from the berries, which have the natural advantage of sprouting in the fertile bellies of dead and rotting songbirds. 

The worthless pieces of shit have finally been declared an invasive species in many states, but some asshole plant nurseries still sell the fucking things and they show up in pitiful flower arrangements on a regular basis. Burn the damn things when you see them. And, I’ll say it again: If someone suggests you plant a nandina SHOOT THEM IN THE GODDAMN FOOT! 

Yours in Christ, 

Russell Upsumdinar 

(Note: The Angry Gardener is presented for entertainment and educational purposes only and does not actually advocate any sort of violence. A better plan would simply be telling someone who suggests you plant a nandina that the suggestion makes you so angry that you FEEL like shooting them in the foot, but you don’t want to violate you probation, because they don’t give you many second chances after murder, so you just wish they wouldn’t ever, ever suggest planting a goddamn-fucking-piece-of-shit nandina bush.)