Horridculture – Halloween

P91009Halloween is a topic that I could rant about for days. Seriously. I loathe it. I dislike any formerly respectable holiday that has been ruined by excessive commercialization. We all know what happened to Christmas. For me, Halloween, in some regards, is even worse. Christmas is at least pretty. Halloween is intended to be morbid and grotesque and creepy and . . . just plain bad.

This should be about gardening though. Yes, there is always that guy who gets too drunk at the Halloween party down the road, but manages to stagger just far enough to vomit on my lawn. Then, I need to figure out how to get all the toilet paper out of the redwoods. The nasturtiums that get trampled by hasty brats who are too old for trick-or-treating will eventually recover.

The worst, though, are the Halloween ‘decorations’ in the front yard! We put too much work into maintaining our gardens in good condition to make them look so bad. I do not care if it is just for one day out of the year. Seriously, it is just wrong, on so many levels. Why on Earth should I want my garden to look as cheap and trashy as young ladies dressed up as naughty nurses?!

Pumpkins and even Jack-O’-lanterns are tolerable, and even appealing in a traditional sort of way, but spiderwebs make me think that the witches could put their brooms to better use than frequent flier miles. All those angry black cats should more efficiently control all the spiders and bats. Tombstones?! – Corpses in various degrees of decay?! – There goes the neighborhood!!P91009+

What about the effigies concealed by white sheets, and the other effigies hanging from trees and porches? Whoever thought those were good ideas?! Perhaps Brent can share some insight.

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Horridculture – Fads

P90313This is why I do not grow hellebores in my own garden. The specimen in the pictures above and below are about as good as they get here. Most are quite a bit worse. Some put out only one or two flowers. Some do not survive their first year in the garden.
No one seems to know why they don’t do well here. It might be the lack of chill in winter, although they do better in even milder climates. It might be the minimal humidity, although they generally do no better in the damp redwood forests where the specimen in these pictures lives. Those that might get too much sunlight do no better or worse than those that get too much shade. They are simply not happy here.
My solution to this ‘problem’ is to not grow them in my own garden. I do not particularly like them anyway. Even those that look ‘good’ look like huge African violets dipped in paraffin. Those in the landscapes that I work with now are the colors of worn vinyl upholstery of 1970s Chryslers. Yup, I will pass on hellebores. ‘Problem’ solved before it happened.
That ‘solution’ does not work for everyone.
Some landscapers get what they can from the few growers who will grow them here, and plant them in all sorts of landscapes that they just do not belong in. Some will do it because they read somewhere that hellebores do well in shade, which is technically true, but only in regions where other environmental conditions are appropriate. Some do it because they saw pretty pictures of them, and read a nice article about them in some gardening magazine that features such articles about what does well where the respective magazines are published.
Sadly, many do it because hellebores are a fad here, and something that many landscapers with something to prove like to brag about. They are like dawn redwood and unusual varieties of Japanese maple that are so often installed into inappropriate situations just so the landscaper can add pictures of them to their portfolios. Fortunately, hellebores merely struggle or die without causing any other damage to the landscape.
There are a few kinds of fads, and some of them actually make sense, but good landscape designers should use fads responsibly and with discretion.P90313+

Horridculture – Good Design / Bad ‘Maintenance’

P90227From a distance, this landscape does not look so bad. It seems to have been only recently installed, and features the sort of material that was likely intended to not necessarily obscure the sleek architecture of the building behind it, but to eventually soften the starkness of it.

Let’s analyze the landscape. A glossy privet hedge in back should grow up into an informal screen to provide some substantial green against the wall, but with a bit of proper pruning, should not become too obtrusive. A lower hedge of variegated tobira (Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’) in front can be pruned into a semi-formal hedge to obscure the bases of the trunks of the glossy privets, which will undoubtedly shed lower growth as they mature. The lightly colored variegated foliage of the tobira contrasts nicely against that of the dark green privets. The blue festuca in front of the variegated tobira hedge provides even more contrast of color, as well as contrast of form, and also ties in with the same blue festuca elsewhere in the landscape. The only two ‘intentional’ interruptions of the simple sleekness of this landscape is where a pair of grapevines flanking a doorway await the installation of an arbor, and a single ‘Icee Blue’ yellowwood is expected to provide additional contrast of form and color in front of the glossy privets. Both features are well situated, and balanced within the symmetry of the landscape. Yes, it is all quite well designed.

And yes, this is Wednesday; the day for my ‘Horridculture’ rant. So, let’s look closer.

Firstly, this is not a new landscape. It has been here long enough to mature better than it has so far. The so-called ‘gardeners’ know that allowing the material to grow means that they will need to put more effort into maintaining it. They would prefer to just keep the glossy privet hedge down low where it does not produce much debris, rather than allow it to grow most of the way up the wall, where it should be by now. A row of cinder block painted green would work just as well, and not need to be shorn at all. The ‘Icee Blue’ yellowwood should likewise be larger than it is now, and looking like a small and neat but informal tree. It actually seems to be growing slowly, which is no fault of the so-called ‘gardeners’.

The pair of grapevines have the opposite problem of the privet hedge. They are not being contained enough. Without the arbor that has yet to be built, they have no place to go, so are just being pruned as rampant and fat shrubs that will fall over as soon as their old stakes rot at the ground. If an arbor is ever built, all that congested and disfigured growth should be cut to the ground in winter, and started over from the ground up. However, it is unlikely that the so-called ‘gardeners’ would maintain them any better on an arbor than they do with them within reach; so it is probably just as well that they are in the ridiculous situation they are in.

That low spherical shrub in the front and center of the landscape, which is just to the left of the lower center of the picture, and is the unintentional interruption to the simplicity of the otherwise well designed variegated tobira hedge that I alluded to earlier, is a variegated Pittosporum tenuifolium. It is so ridiculously shorn and abused that I can not identify the cultivar. I can only guess that it is the common and overly popular ‘Marjorie Channon’. Apparently, one of the variegated tobiras died and needed to be replaced. Hey, it happens. A so-called ‘gardener’ knew that the necessary replacement plant needed to be variegated. He also knew that it needed to be a pittosporum, which is probably more than most so-called ‘gardeners’ could ascertain. The problem was that he went to a nursery and grabbed the first variegated pittosporum that he found, which, as you can plainly see, does not match the tobiras. It assumed a different form, flopped forward as they often do when shorn in such an inappropriate manner, and continues to be shorn into the ‘shape’ seen here now . . . as if it is somehow an asset to this otherwise well designed landscape. The blue festuca that it landed on gets shorn right along with it.

The only feature in this well designed landscape that does not have a serious problem, except for its one member that was clobbered by the single disfigured pittosporum, is the blue festuca, and that is only because the so-called ‘gardeners’ do nothing to it.P90227+

Horridculture – WEED! (but not a sequel)

 

Although relevant to the same disdainful weed that I wrote about earlier in https://tonytomeo.com/2018/10/24/horridculture-weed/ this article is about a completely different topic. That is why it is not a sequel. Nor is it a rant. It is instead an explanation of why so many of us choose to not use marijuana. It was written by an admired colleague who has much more experience with such matters than I do, and is therefore much more qualified to write about it. So, for today, I will deviate from standard procedure by refraining from my typical Wednesday rant, and by posting an article written by someone else. In fact, you can ignore the title above. This article below already has one.

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Should the followers of Christ use Cannabis? J.S.Wilkinson 2016

Cannabis seems to keep coming up in conversations people around me are having. Watching the current trends of well-meaning people giving themselves to substances that have been historically questionable brings me to the place where I must share my experience and my research.

Just because the government has made something legal doesn’t make that thing permissible. There’s a lot of examples I could cite … and I’ve been around long enough to know that “all that glitters is not gold”. I’m also one to say “the good is the enemy of the best”. Why settle for something counterfeit when you could have the genuine article?

Classically, the followers of Christ get there cues from the Scriptures, when debating whether or not an action or indulgence is permissible; but as we all know everything is subjective, even the meanings of the Scriptures. And we have seen how something written can be taken out of context and made to fit either side of an argument.

I have worked in one of the most prestigious medical centers in the world (for decades) and I’ve had the good favor to meet some of the top minds in, for example, pain research. I asked the senior research doctor of the “Pain-Clinic” “What do you think of medical marijuana?” He chuckled and said, “There is only one reason why anybody would want to use marijuana. It gets you stoned!” He went on to explain that the current trend of marijuana use in “medicine” was a direct result of the agenda to legalize the drug. He said that cannabis has no analgesic property, and the effect of using it only makes the user “complacent” (as well as stoned) “They no longer care they’re in pain” but the pain is not relieved! This particular Hospital has a strict no cannabis policy. Patients with “Medical Marijuana” cards are not permitted to bring their “Prescription” marijuana into the hospital with them. Psychiatric patients are dropped from treatment if it’s found they are using marijuana, even with a Doctor’s prescription. Here’s my question; if marijuana is so well thought of, why isn’t it universally adopted by the medical community? I’m sure the conspiracy crowd could run for miles with that one…

What do the scriptures say? The English word ‘pharmacy’ is clearly derived from a group of Greek words used to describe pagans (the dark arts) who used potions to encourage hallucinations for contacting the spirit world. The particular word ‘pharmakia’ found in Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8 and 22:15 refers to Sorcerers. Please note: NOT ALL DRUGS ARE BAD! Followers of Christ are admonished not to practice sorcery or witchcraft, so it seems to go without saying that we should not be using drugs that are used in Pagan rituals and in Sorcery.

Let’s take a look at what spiritual practices have historically used marijuana in an entheogenic context – from Wikipedia:

According to the TeenWitch.com website “religious cannabis use occurs or has occurred in many of the world’s largest religions: Ancient Egyptian, Asatru (Norse), Assyrian, Australian (Aboriginal) , Babylonian, Bantu, Brazilian (Tribal), Buddhism, Canaanite, Celtic Druidism, Chinese (various), Dagga, Essenses, Etruscan, Gypsy (including Tarot), Hellinism (Greek), Hermeticism, Hinduism, Hottentot, Kemetic (ancient Egyptian), Mithraism, Persian, Polynesian, Pygmy, Rastafarian, Roman, Shamanic/Tribal religion, Shintoism, Sufi Islam, Tantra, Taoism, Thai, Theraputea, Wicca, Witchcraft, Zoarastrianism, and Zulu.

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Here’s another great question: Is marijuana OK from a spiritual point of view?

This following quote is from a very astute article I found while researching this subject…

This might sound a bit strange, but the aura quality of marijuana smokers is sticky, fuzzy, and open to entities.”

In this lengthy article from Cosmic Living, the author explains the many deceptions that play out in the minds of marijuana users, especially noting the presence of “entities”

Even the people in New Thought modalities are aware that someone or something is getting access to their souls when they open themselves with marijuana use!

My personal experience:

I first started using cannabis in 1970 at age 13. I began to fall away from my faith in Christ, and began to explore alternate spiritual realities. By the time I was 17 I had been introduced to several modalities including Native American Shamanism. This resulted in some very real and very serious trials of my faith in Christ, and the reality of alternate spiritual dimensions. When I turned 18 I attempted to quit all drug use and follow the way of Christ with a renewed zeal. Trying to do this on my own, without the indwelling presence (of the fullness) of the Holy Spirit proved to be too much for me. When I relapsed I felt so condemned that I proceeded to run long and hard away from God.

When I came to my senses 5 years later, I renewed my relationship with God through Christ. The very night I was to be given the full infilling of the Holy Spirit, I laid my marijuana out on the table before me and prayed; God, if you want me to stop using this, you could make it so it doesn’t affect me anymore (the chicken way out) or you could make it so I hate it and no longer find pleasure in it! I went off to my youth group meeting where the cheerful followers of Christ asked if anyone would like to be “Baptized in the Holy Spirit” I checked in with God and he said “you want that”…

After having the fullness of the Holy Spirit imparted to me, I no longer enjoyed the feeling I got from cannabis, the euphoria was replaced with a sense of dread and loathing. I was painfully aware of how I chose to leave the presence of the Holy Spirit by breathing in the marijuana. It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I had in fact invited a “familiar spirit” into my reality and Holy Spirit would not share my temple with another god! This happened in 1980, no one I met was teaching on this subject, it seemed to be common sense that followers of Christ don’t use marijuana. Here I am 36 years later, living in a time when even the elect are being deceived. Good friends and family members are at odds with me because I won’t back down.

If you feel that you would like to experience the freedom and fullness of the indwelling Holy Spirit and you’re ready to say goodbye to your cannabis friend, we can help you! J.S.Wilkinson

Horridculture – Lack Of Planning

P81128+This is a recycled picture that still annoys me. There was another that I did not want to use because it happens to be from a landscape that I sometimes work in.
The picture that I did not use shows a variety of annuals in a half wine barrel that is set on cobble stone that fills a square that is about five feet by five feet that was cut out of an asphalt paved area.
So:
The area was paved to function as a patio.
A square was cut into the pavement perhaps because there was too much pavement.
The square was filled with stone because there was too much exposed soil where there should have been pavement.
A half wine barrel of various annuals was installed on top of the stone as if a square filled with stone was not adequately in the way.\
The half wine barrel and stone should be removed so that the are can be paved as usable patio space. . . like it had originally been.
It reminds me of a monologue by the renowned comedian, Bill Cosby. He discussed the small compartment that is designed to keep butter from getting too cold within a refrigerator that is designed to keep food cold, within the home that is heated to keep the interior from getting too cold.
Now, back to the picture above. It annoys me even more because it is not the result of a series of mistakes by several different volunteers working in the landscape that I did not post a picture of. It was done by so-called ‘professionals’, like those I briefly worked for a few years ago.
The area was paved. I might add that it was paved quite well. Then, either because there was too much pavement, or because someone wanted to sell more junk, potted plants and the associated irrigation system were installed onto the pavement, so that the affected portion of pavement is now useless.
How does this makes sense? It should have been done properly when the pavement was installed only a few years ago. I would guess from looking at it that the pavement was done properly, but someone just wanted to sell more infrastructure.
The bigger urn in the foreground is planted with pink jasmine on a trellis. I explained the problem with the vine not getting released from its bindings last week. https://tonytomeo.com/2018/11/28/horridculture-well-done-stakes-are-rare/ Not only does a bundled thicket of stems remain in the middle, but all the new growth is crowded on top of the trellis because the landscape ‘professionals’ planted a big vine on a tiny trellis, and then neglect to maintain it. What is the point of a trellised vine in the first place? I mean, what does it ‘do’? Wouldn’t something shrubbier or a cascading perennial have been more appropriate? Do we really want to see the bare soil and accumulated cigarette butts below the vine? What about the landscape behind the potted plants? Why obscure that? Why create more obstacles for those who sweep or blow debris from the area.
Just look at all the pointless infrastructure in this useless space. Rather than a nice well designed landscape adjacent to clean and usable pavement, we have pointless potted plants cluttering the area, leaking water that stains the now useless pavement, and just getting in the way!

Horridculture – Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Sillier . . .

P81121Two others have already written about this far more proficiently than I would have:
https://sweetgumandpines.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/abomination/
Amaryllis, Queen of the Forced Bulbs
These two articles say it all. I would not have bothered to write about it too if I had not already taken the picture above. I did not read the label to learn what one of these articles said about why these bulbs were waxed. It seals in moisture, so that the bulbs do not desiccate while they bloom without water or moist media. They at least get water when forced by the conventional manner.
I suppose to many who force amaryllis bulbs, there is no problem with waxing them like this, since they are typically discarded as their forced bloom deteriorates. There is no expectation for the bulbs to survive the process to regenerate and bloom the following year.
We can at least pretend that we intend to nurture amaryllis bulbs that bloom in a ‘forcing kit’ that includes a small volume of potting media that sort of sustains the fleshy roots through the process. After all, they can survive the process and get potted into larger volumes of media to recover and bloom again. Some of us have actually sustained such bulbs for a few years Bulbs that are purchased bare and then potted directly into more reasonable volumes of media are of course more sustainable from the beginning.
Poinsettias and living Christmas trees are no better than forced amaryllis. Nor are the Easter lilies in spring.
Like amaryllis bulbs, Easter lilies can be purchased bare and grown directly out in the garden. Those that are forced in pots can be planted out in the garden afterward to possibly recover. Otherwise, they too get discarded after bloom.
Poinsettias can technically be grown as houseplants, but rarely survive that long. Those that do not get tossed after they shed their colorful bracts are likely to get tossed as they languish in recovery from the process of forcing them to bloom in a very contrived greenhouse environment.
Living Christmas trees are actually more of a problem if the ‘do’ survive. They so often get planted into small gardens, and often next to foundations of homes, with the belief that they will always stay small and innocent. The problem is that most are seedlings of the Italian stone pine, which grows very big and very fast, and soon becomes a problem that is very expensive to remove. If not planted in a garden and allowed to destroy all within reach, they die from neglect and confinement within their own pots, often within their first year.

Horridculture – Bad Name

51104Junipers have a bad name. So do eucalypti. Too many of the wrong types were planted back at a time when they were too trendy. Those that were planted into inappropriate situations grew up to cause problems. The names of all junipers and eucalypti are now synonymous with those problems, even though there are many types of both genera that are quite practical for landscape purposes.
Get over it.
There are many junipers and eucalypti that are very good options for some landscape purposes. They need only minimal watering once established, and many will survive with none at all when mature. Some types of juniper grow as very low and very dense ground cover. With proper pruning, others can develop as exquisitely sculptural shrubbery or even small trees. (Just do NOT shear them!) Because of their very complaisant roots, some of the smaller eucalypti work very well as street trees.
I am certainly not promoting either junipers or eucalypti. They will not work for every application. I am merely saying that they should not be automatically dismissed because of their names. They were once overly popular for a variety of reasons, and those reasons are still valid.
However, I will say that there are a few species and varieties of each that are worth avoiding. They are likely what originally justified the bad reputations that are now shared by all of their relatives. For example, blue gum eucalyptus that was planted as a timber crop so long ago really is MUCH too big and messy for home gardens. Even where space is sufficient, there are probably better options.
Some of the current fads are also worth avoiding, or at least questioning. Some are very likely to earn a ‘bad name’ in the future, either because there will be too many of them, or because their faults will become evident as they mature. Because so many get planted within such a short time, many that mature at the about the same rate will develop their faults at about the same time.
For example, crape myrtle is such a useful and complaisant tree that it has been planted too commonly for just about every situation in which a tree is desired. It is resilient. It is complaisant with concrete. It blooms spectacularly. It colors splendidly in autumn. It really is an excellent small scale or medium tree for small garden spaces or near utility easements. It works very well in narrow park strips where larger trees would displace concrete. Yet, despite all the attributes, it is not good for everything, and does not get big enough to become a substantial shade tree, as it so commonly gets planted for. In the future, there will be so many crape myrtles in so many of the wrong situations that they will be considered to be too common.
Queen palm is another example. It used to be somewhat uncommon and respected. Through the 1990s, big box stores were selling them like junipers and eucalypti decades earlier. They happen to be very appealing palms that are more practical than the formerly more common Mexican fan pale, but have become so common that they were very often planted into situations that they are not appropriate for. Those that are under utility easements will need to be removed when their canopies start to encroach into utility cables. Because they are palms, they can not be pruned around the cables. Those that are able to mature will outgrow the reach of those who maintain their own gardens, or typical gardeners, necessitating attention from more expensive tree services. Like crape myrtles, they will also lose their appeal in the future.70222

Horridculture – Blame

P81106The response to the brief article that I wrote about the smoke from a small and localized wildfire on Sunday is not easy to dismiss. The original article is at https://tonytomeo.com/2018/11/04/smoke/ . It is about the smoke from the small and localized Rincon Fire, and goes on to discuss how the clear cut harvesting of redwood more then a century ago enhanced the combustibility of the forest. It was shared to Facebook, including the Facebook page of Felton League.

The article did not blame anyone for starting the fire. I read it again just to be certain. I said nothing about arsonists, the homeless, homeless arsonists, or anything of the sort! Blame, in regard to the Rincon Fire, is not relevant to horticulture, forestry, arboriculture or anything that I write about.

We all know that there are mentally ill people who are homeless because they do not function well enough to maintain a domestic lifestyle. Some are potentially dangerous because they can do things, such as start fires, without thinking about it. There are also those who can accidentally start fires as they are just trying to stay warm when the weather gets cold out in the forests where they live.

Do we really believe that blaming and vilifying the homeless or mentally ill helps? Chasing them from their encampments and farther out into the forests, as so many suggest, only increases the innate hazards by relocating them into areas that are more inaccessible and more combustible. If we really are so concerned, we should want such hazards relocated to more localized and accessible situations. The severely mentally ill who can not manage a descent lifestyle simply should not be homeless.

Furthermore, what about the vast majority of fires that are caused by electrical malfunction? Why are we not wanting to outlaw electricity? What about the fires that are caused by sparks from lawn mowers and weed whackers? Shouldn’t such machines be outlawed? What about forest fires that start as house fires? Should we blame those who live in homes? Who do we blame for all those combustible trees that grow wild in the forests?

I intend to resume writing mostly and perhaps nearly exclusively about horticultural topics after today. It is what I am qualified to write about. I apologize for this deviation. If I eventually establish a blog regarding homelessness, I will be sure to share a link to it here.

Horridculture – WEED!

0Q: What do I spray on may medicinal marijuana plants to kill mealybug?
A: Roundup.
This solutions takes care of two problems at the same time; the mealybug infestation as well as the weed that it is growing on! Cutting the weed at the base and simply discarding it is just as effective and even more practical because it does not involve a toxic, environmentally controversial, and expensive chemical herbicide. The best option is to simply not grow weed in the first place.
I am a horticulturist. I love what I do. I love plants. However, I do not worship them.
When I grew citrus trees back in the early 1990s, I happened to enjoy all sorts of rare and unusual citrus fruit that grew on the trees that we grew. However, there were no citrus themed clothing, jewelry, accessories, home furnishings or tattoos. There was no overly indulgent or theatrical manner of consuming the fruit with fancy blown glass utensils designed for doing so, or a traditional technique of taking a piece and passing the rest around. I enjoyed citrus and got on with my life. Yes, I enjoyed growing citrus AND I had a life.
I realize that almost all of those who use marijuana medicinally do so responsibly. That is fine. Keep it out of my way. I am no more interested in smelling it, seeing it, or fleeing the smoke, than anyone else is interested in sharing my prostate medication. I find it to be quite objectionable and offensive.
It would not be so objectionable if those who use it excessively would not so predictably assume that I am a horticulturist because I grow it! Again, there is more to life and the flora of the world than WEED! If you are a stoner, wastoid or burnout because of your reverence for pot, do not recommend that I should try it! It is not as if you are a good example of the attributes of WEED!

Horridculture – Needle Mania!

P80919Throughout my career as a horticulturist, I have worked in more public landscapes than most. Some of these landscapes were in some of the most notorious neighborhoods of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Monterey Bay Area. Yes, I have found some rather strange items strewn about, including a few that necessitated telephone calls to local law enforcement. Yet, I have never once found a single used syringe.

Syringes are more commonly known as ‘needles’ by those who fear them. We are sometimes warned about them, particularly in areas where the sorts of people whom we are supposed to fear might have left them strewn about, whether or not these fearsome people actually use syringes. If found, such syringes are dangerous because they are used to inject illicit narcotics, and are consequently contaminated with the blood of those who use them. Such blood is always assumed to be infected with any variety of the communicable diseases that afflict all fearsome people, and is assumed to stay infectious for all eternity.

When I consider some of the situations that I have worked in, I believe that I am fortunate to have never found a syringe. On rare occasion, I have been presented with pouches and ‘sharps’ containment boxes containing syringes so that I can dispose of them properly. I actually expect to find a few at a site that I will be inspecting this next week or so, which will be a new experience for me. Caution is justified.

I know that syringes are out there, and that they are dangerous. So are rattlesnakes. I have seen and killed many rattlesnakes. They used to be quite common at the farm, and are still somewhat common at home. I know people who have been bitten by rattlesnakes, even though we all know to be careful out in regions where we expect them to be. Signs warning those who might not be familiar with rattlesnakes are posted in county and state parks inhabited by rattlesnakes. People are bitten by rattlesnakes much more commonly than people are accidentally pricked by used syringes. Accidental ‘needle pricks’ are actually extremely rare. For those unfortunate enough to experience such an injury, infection with any one of the communicable diseases that we all fear is very rare. Contrary to popular belief, infectious blood does not stay infections forever.

Needle Mania is really the most infectious affliction associated with used syringes. In a nearby Community, several people are so obsessed with discarded syringes that they have developed a ‘needle watch’ online, in order to monitor the number of syringes found, and the locations of where they were found. Some like to post pictures of the syringes that they find, sort of like trophies. Some people have found several syringes; which is quite commendable for those who live and work mostly inside. (I spent my entire career outside, but have never found a single syringe.) The numbers of syringes found is disturbing. So are the many pictures of syringes laying out in public spaces.

A few pictures are perplexing as well. One locally found syringe was pictured laying out neatly on a serpentinite outcropping. Another that was found in spring on the bank of the San Lorenzo River was laying on top of fallen autumn leaves of quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides. Neither serpentinite nor quaking aspen are endemic to this region.

A syringe was recently found in my neighborhood! As unfortunate and disturbing as this news was, it is not completely unexpected. Syringes can be discarded anywhere, and are probably likely to be discarded on isolated rural roads.

The neighbor who found the syringe believes that it is a problem that is serious enough to justify posting pictures of it all over the neighborhood! These pictures include a description of where the syringe was found, and instructions of what to do to curtail suspicious activity. They are everywhere! They were originally just stapled to trees, utility poles, mail boxes, fences, barns . . . and anything that a staple would stick into. Now that they have been out in the weather for a while, some are blowing about in the roadway and collecting in ditches. When they were first posted, a few were within view from every point on the road. More posters were added to replace those that blew away. These posters are now a prominent feature of our Community landscape.

I do not doubt that the discarded syringe is a problem for the Community. However, the pictures of it posted so prominently and abundantly throughout the neighborhood landscape are unsightly, trashy and unbecoming of such a safe and idyllic neighborhood.P80919K