Welcome to the Jungle

There’s an article in the paper this morning about the city’s Parks and Parkways Department, which lost 80% of its staff and much of its equipment following the storm. This is the department that is responsible for keeping the city’s public spaces and neutral grounds from becoming an overgrown jungle.

I think they’ll be able to manage, what with some outsourced help and volunteer efforts. As I see it, the much greater problem is going to be the overgrowth of private property around the city, in flooded neighborhoods where the property owners are abandoning or neglecting their properties. Even if the neighborhood citizens who are back band together and manage to keep the front yards of these places mowed, the backyards and alleys are going to become a nightmare come mid-summer.

Anyone who gardens here knows what will happen if a piece of cleared land goes unattended for a year. Between nasty weeds that grow several feet in a week and climbing vines that entangle everything in sight, we will literally have a jungle on our hands if property owners can’t keep their land attended to. And though I kind of like the idea of lush, green overgrowth and decay everywhere, the problem it brings to an urban environment is unacceptable. It will create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, snakes, rodents, stray pets, and a multitude of other nasty creatures. Hell, we’d probably have jaguars and monkeys running around the city if it goes unchecked for too long.

I’ll admit that my own backyard & alley is getting a little overgrown. I have these mutant dandelion looking things that seem to grow about 4 feet tall overnight. I’m too busy trying to fix the house to do anything, and the weed trimmer I had got ruined in the flood. But I do have a machete, and anything that’s waist high gets mutilated by it. I don’t think that’s too much to ask of people; if you have a flooded place, at least try to go there every few weeks and pretend you’re in the Amazon rainforest trying to slash your way to a native village to escape the giant Anaconda that’s been eating the other members of your group. Please. If you don’t, that damned Anaconda is going to eat us all.

6 Comments so far

  1. Laurie (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

    If it is a health hazard it has to go!


  2. dangerblond (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

    Agree with everything you say. Have you noticed also that, as a result of this catastrophe, the trees and plants around here seem to be putting out blooms like they never have before? It’s like the natural world is fighting back to stay alive. Another interesting phenomenon is flowers popping up in these unattended places. Pansies, sunflowers and other hearty seeds must have been transplanted via the flood waters. Now they have shot up like they are on steroids. Perhaps they are on steroids, and sewerage and everything else they picked up from our town! There is a science-fiction story here for the imagining. Not saying it isn’t a hazard, but also an amazing thing to see. The problem is going to be when it’s not just plants . . .

  3. Laurie (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 10:16 am

    We definitely noticed the plants going nuts about this place.

    If they clear the sections and allow them to go natural

    it’ll pick up the slack from flooding

    which is a very good thing.

    Are there Cedar trees and palmettos?

    If its coming back as swampland it’s against the law to touch it.

    This is not London.

    We do not need to allow the Black Plague to occur again.

    CDC, get on it!!

    Force a health order.



  4. dangerblond (unregistered) on March 31st, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

    I went out to get my (missing) newpaper today and there was a good-sized snake in my front yard. I looked it up and it seems to be a non-venomous western ribbon snake. I am thinking that this is not going to be the last urban snake story of the summer.

  5. Cade Roux (unregistered) on March 31st, 2006 @ 1:07 pm

    There was a story on NPR about it, and the strong growth is result of trauma – not necessarily from the pollution – but nature’s way of ensuring survival; directing resources towards seeds instead of growth or whatever is appropriate for that species’ selfish genes. Woo hoo 30th anniversary, and still so relevent.

  6. Laurie (unregistered) on March 31st, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    We had pet ribbon snakes when I was a kid until Missy

    our scottish terrier figured out how to open the cage.

    They’re garden snakes.

    We even have the only non poisonous asp-hognose.


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