Saturday, April 16, 2016


Letter “G” is for Gardens; in this case “Community Gardens”. To be even more specific, our very own V. M Ybor Neighborhood Association, which to clarify, is an historical association, not one of those ass-hat associations that won't let you have pink flamingos in your yard, or any of that nonsense. Hey, if you want that chartreuse house, just go right ahead. Just don't be surprised to come home one evening to find all the doors glued shut or have your house full of angry bees, just kidding. At least, we're not like THOSE guys on the other side of Nebraska who will just burn it down around your ears, if you dare to paint it puce. M'kay?

Anyway, they do things their way, and we do things our way, which is with brisk efficiency and it runs like clockwork, from what I understand. I'm not allowed near the garden, because just the shade thrown by my form has been known to kill plants, so I admire the pictures. Everyone is invited to participate and because we live in Florida and from my own experience, I know that tomatoes are the first to be planted. There are work days and days where they plant cover crops. Kim Headland and now, President Kelly Grimsdale, periodically send out links to the University of Florida's Planting Almanac.

Kelly allocates the plots or half-plots to interested parties and they go out and “farm”. The community garden does put out a lot of vegetables, but they do plant bulbs for flowers and plant some trees, I believe.

I went looking for some picture of our Garden and I didn't find any. . . *

*Everything from here on out is made up whole cloth, except for the part about Daddy and his Venus Flytraps.

At this point, I've not heard back from Kelly, and I believe the reason why is she is planning one of her fabulous porch parties for this evening. So, from here on out, everything you read is shit I made up, since I really am kryptonite to growing things, unless I am accompanied by an adult over the age of 21.

We grow a variety of things in our Community Garden, the most prolific of these are Venus Fly Traps and those hideous Corpse Flowers that bloom every 100 years and smell like a dead human corpse. We're all still waiting for a crop of those, since we only planted some 55 years ago. I wouldn't know, since I was only 5 years old at the time and living in Muskegon, Michigan, driving my Daddy crazy, as he was my primary care-giver at that time.   

Venus Flytraps. Lovely to look at and pretty fascinating. They'll be really still, and then one will just snap shut.

They already look rather ominous though. I particularly like the Traps. Did you know that if there are no flies around, you can feed them bits of hamburger? I know this, because I got one for my Daddy once for his birthday. It thrived for years on his desk at work – true story – and we fed it mealworms, live. Flytraps get most of their nutrients from the sun, however, and we found that you cannot fertilize them or use tap water, so my Daddy kept distilled water at his desk, along with a few meal worms to feed his traps. They never got very big, but they were pretty neat. Anyway, I digress.    

The aftermath(?) of the Corpse Flower bloom. You can see why it attracts flesh eating insects and beetles. Ick.

The Corpse Flower is a nightmare that grows taller than a man and blooms every 36 or 100 years; wiki is fuzzy on that. This is either because no one can stand to be around it to count the years, or the smell just kills anyone instantly in close proximity when the bastard finally does bloom. The reason it does stink to high heaven is because that stench draws beetles and other insects that eat flesh! That's really special!   

This is the flower in bloom. Still not a fan.

We also have some Skunk Cabbage, which got planted because someone got confused and ordered those seeds instead of “Small Cabbage” seeds. These charmers have some edible parts, but most of it is poisonous and it smells like a skunk on steroids. The poison is particularly nasty, in that the calcium oxalate is extremely corrosive and it burns into the flesh and causes organs to shut down, WITHOUT ingesting it. Ooooh, fun!

This looks pretty, but it's basically napalm in plant form.                 

Then, in our Garden we have the “let's fake out the tweakers and druggies and play practical jokes on them at the SAME TIME!” group of plants. We have some Giant Hogweed, which looks suspiciously like weed; da ganja, or mary jane. However this little number can destroy a human being through the cooperation of an extraterrestrial agent – the Sun! The Hogweed is photosensitive, and it oozes a thick sap upon contact and almost immediately, the sap reacts with the sun and basically becomes napalm. This leads to necrosis and formation of massive, purple lesions that can last for years. The Hogweed can grow up to 8 feet. I can just imagine some of these potheads around here stumbling around and finding this gem at night and rolling a doobie. Gives a new meaning to “lit up”.   

Last, but not least, we have a lovely patch of Angel Trumpet vines, which truly are lovely to look at. On it's own, it's the least dangerous of the “practical joke” plants, but in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, it's a dark and heady brew of toxins – atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine. The scopolamine can be refined and used on people who remain conscious, but have no recollection of what they are doing; they become “zombies” and it was originally used as a “truth” serum, but various agencies and may still be used as such. As an aside, it was used by anesthetists until safer drugs were formulated for use during surgery.

Us'ns on the way to the "Farmer's Market, Gun and Knife Show". My Wallace photography gene has gotten so bad, everything comes out in sepia tones, now.

Anyway, we grow these wonderful crops, and when they're all grown up, we enter our Garden into the “Better Guns and Gardens” competition and invariably win. We then harvest – carefully – everything, throw it into a Conestoga wagon, hitch up the oxen and haul it off to town for the “Farmer's Market, Gun and Knife Show”. After we we've emptied our wagon, by selling, bribing or threatening the patrons in buying our wares, we head home. It's been a long day. . . Tomorrow? Hysterical Buildings.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow! You guys are all set to kill trespassers, aren't you? Least no one is going to mess with the garden.
And if you have to skip letters or double up to catch up with the Challenge, it's cool. Glad you're back.

Viola Fury said...


This has been some month! God laughs when I plan, that is why I usually do everything in an ad-hoc manner. I had a theme last year, but Shostakovich had other plans. This year, it's been drunks, Internet swappage (without my knowledge) that has slowed the little engine that could.

Yes, we like to pretend that we're all a bunch of milksaps around here, that way when the bad buys get up to something, we can whip out our poisonous plants/blind canes/walker and beat the living shit out of miscreants. It gives us all a tremendous sense of satisfaction, plus it helps with the paperwork for the TPD, too <3