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Sunday, 6 September 2020

You may well ask

Imagine, if you will, a blithe September afternoon.The Rudbekia are at their orange finest and the sunchokes wave like their larger cousins, shiny yellow sunflowers, in the gentle breeze. 

That’s if you happen to be in the right part of the garden, however. If you were unlucky enough to be a sunchoke and have been planted near the shed and in manured soil with the sun on your face, you’re in for it.

Because of that manure your roots have thrived, multiplied and spread into the lawn. And gardening is all about control and Victorian neatness. Cutting your roots out of the lawn last spring means drastic measures will take place this autumn. 

First up is the wife who gets the man to help her stick a fork right through your tangle of roots and wrench them out until they are torn from the clods of earth you called home. But she’s one of the better fat controllers. She’s brought along buckets of water into which your torn roots are placed so that your shiny yellow faces don’t wither and fold.

And all along the flower bed she goes; digging, tearing, separating and lifting. Your mates join you and they are squashed into your tub of water with alarming cruelty. But it’s back-breaking for her.Your roots are tough.

Then what on earth is he getting up to? You may well ask!

When you are all removed from your flower bed the fun really starts. He digs out enough soil to provide himself with a graveyard plot and he scatters it on the beds where your mates continue to glow, undisturbed, in the snatched September sunshine. And she provides more tubs which he sinks into the big grave-like hole. Then you are transferred into these tubs and, with your feet in water, you are buried. 

What? 

A whole bed of sunchokes has been dug up simply to be placed in plastic tubs, full of water and compost, back into the soil where you’d grown happily for the last five years.

Ah! I get it. She doesn’t like your roots spreading into her lawn. So you’ve got to be grown in containers. And now you feel sick and weak. The uprooting has made you wilt. They’re going to put a bean stick up your back side, throttle you with string and force you to stand erect, even though you’d rather flop all over the soil. It’s all been such a shock, being uprooted like that. And simply because you were successful. You were growing well. So you had to be put into containers, like mint, so you can’t spread.

It took him five hours on that sunny September afternoon. Why couldn’t he just put his feet up and watch the racing on the tele, if he’s so interested in the turf. 


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