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by Dario Bollacasa

Ohhh, it is tempting to pile on Bush, the President, but so many people are after him already. I just do not feel like adding more.

To be sure, it is a well deserved piling on, but there also seems to be a Bush "fatigue". I recently saw a Bush countdown clock: you will know at a glance how long the suffering will go on.

So, instead of a Bush with a capital B, I will ruminate about the plant-type bush.

I am very fond of bushes. The thin needled evergreens leave me cold, but the broadleaved ones and the berry bearing types are my favorites.

I nurture the rhododendrons, the mountain laurels and the hollies.

Rhododendrons put on a spectacular show each Spring. I have a couple of them, which do fairly well. But, they cannot compete with my neighbor's 50 year old or so, pink one. It is gigantic: at least 20 feet tall and as round as a ball. Hundreds of large, pink blooms burst open in the Spring. A spectacular showing is followed by a profusion of white/pink flower clusters from the mountain laurels.

That flowering goes on into early June.

It is then time for my favorite bushes: the berry bushes. I want to be rewarded for my gardening labors preferably by something that provides fruits to eat. I have raspberry, blueberry, gooseberry, blackberry and currant bushes.

The raspberries come first; they give me a Spring and a Fall harvest. Nothing beats eating raspberries out-of-hand between sips of coffee. Then, raspberries with cream, on ice cream, on cereal and lastly only when one is truly tired of them, made into jam.

Then the gooseberries show up: the size of small olives. You bite down on them and your mouth fills with a tart/sweet pulp and juice. They literally explode in your mouth. Most of them wind up in jam or a sauce for ice cream.

The currants have been a poor experiment. They are only good for jelly, and a lot of work to boot. All those seeds! Once I made the mistake of confusing red currants with Zante currants, which you can buy in your favorite natural food outlet. I made a cake with red currants in it. Big failure: people hated to crunch down on those little seeds and felt too self-conscious about spitting the seeds out as if there were eating watermelon.

The blueberries need either to be protected by some sort of anti-bird mesh or one has to plant enough bushes to feed both bird and man. The catbirds and the blue jays love them. I opt for the mesh, but often I forget to deploy it early enough and the-war-of-the-birds are on.

My most recent experiment with berries was to plant blackberries. As you Oregonians know too well, that was poor choice to say the least. I have found shoots 20 or more feet from the original planting. I guess they would take over the world if left to their own devices. And those thorns! I swear that the canes move toward anyone within 3 feet or so. One cannot escape being ensnared by those deadly thorns, and the berries are not so good either. The birds avoid them like the plague and the best one can do is to make SEEDLESS jam.

By now we are into the early Fall and only the berries from the holly bushes are yet to come. Beautiful waxy leaves and bright red berries in all that snow! For now I will just go outside and hope there still are some raspberries.






















*note: I would have listed more, but I ran out of space.


  Presidential Praise
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Letters from Kabul
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I Laugh Because There Is No Crying In Politics
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Two in the Bush
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Take a Haiku: Bushwhacking
by Greg Coyle


Bushisms - Actual Quotes from Our President in 2006

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