The Angry Gardener

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.)

The Bradford Pear 

At the first hint of spring across the south there’s a wash of beautiful white blossoms on a delicate tree. The Native Americans in the Appalachians call this “What the fuck?” because there was never a tree that bloomed so early in the year before or one that was such a goddamn nuisance. 

Native Americans, like the rest of us, would note, the aroma of these little white blossoms hold a subtle hint of lavender, but mostly it’s a mixture of county fair vomit and formula-fed babyshit. 

This is the Bradford Pear, the Frankenstein monster of the nursery industry that some fucking idiots still put in their yards. If you see one and have a chainsaw fire the fucker up and cut the goddamn thing down. This might make your neighbors angry, but I’m sure they’ll understand when you explain: 

Botanists with an eye for beauty created the Bradford Pear as an ornamental. Its blossoms were plentiful, it didn’t get too big and its limbs seemed to reach for the sky! To top it off, the trees were sterile, so only nurseries would be able to supply them. All-in-all, it seemed like the perfect little tree the burgeoning suburbia of the 1960s. It sure did. It sure did. It sure … . 

Soon the goddamn things were everywhere and every chucklefuck with a hole in his or her yard or park put a fucking Bradford Pear in. 

Then something started to happen. The trees weren’t what people had claimed they were. See, the Bradford Pear is like that crazy girlfriend you had that was so hot that you told yourself over and over that she wasn’t crazy. The question that no one wants to ask because no one wants the answer is: “If she’s so fucking hot and she’s not fucking crazy why is she fucking YOU?” You know there’s only one reason and it’s not because you’re so good looking. No, it's because she IS fucking crazy!

The Bradford Pear is like if that crazy girlfriend told you she couldn’t get pregnant and then got pregnant, but the kids just kept coming and they were crazier than she was. The Bradford Pear, as it turned out, cross-pollinates with any other pear, fucks up the offspring of THOSE pears, and then produces worthless little balls filled with potent little seeds that spread every-goddamn-where. 

Crazy Girlfriend, can’t you keep your panties on and quit fucking my friends and neighbors? The whole countryside seems to be filled with your idiot kids. 

The Bradford Pear offspring are typically callery pears, which are full of thorns and turn into thickets so dense that the only way to clear them is by bulldozers. BULLDOZERS! Like the Bradford Pear, they don’t produce edible fruit. Too boot, those original Bradford Pears are so weak that their limbs break off almost just for spite and they fall the fuck apart over anything - just like that crazy girlfriend who blamed you for it. And, suddenly, we have no native pears, because Bradford-Fucking-Frankenstein has replaced them. That doesn't even address the fact that the sons-of-bitches produce pollen that fuck up your allergies for weeks!

These trees are not natural. In fact, any goddamned fruit tree that has been denatured so that it blooms big but does not produce fruit is not normal. Anybody who plants a tree like that should starve for a goddamn week. Maybe a real peach or pear tree doesn’t bloom quite as big for your chickenshit neighbors to marvel at, but it produces fucking fruit like it’s supposed to. 

If you plant a tree, plant a tree that does what nature intended for it to do or don’t plant one at all. 

And if you see a Bradford Pear, cut the son-of-a-bitch down.

Yours in Christ, 

Russell Upsumdinar

(Note: The Angry Gardener is meant for entertainment and educational purposes only and does not actually advocate cutting down Bradford Pear trees that are not owned by the person intending to cut said tree down. A more realistic solution would be reading the above article to the owner of a Bradford Pear and encouraging them to cut the tree down themselves. Loan them a fucking chainsaw if you have one.)