Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Briza Maxima: a garden thug to make you quake

Popular gardening expert and TV presenter Sarah Raven produced a lovely book called Grow Your Own Cut Flowers a while back; it's beautifully photographed and contains excellent advice - but don't be fooled by her suggestion that Briza Maxima or Greater Quaking Grass is a useful addition to your garden. It does, as she says, look lovely in a cut flower arrangement, and its tear
drop shaped seed heads rattle as they waft in a gentle summer breeze; but the plant has all the charm of Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: beautiful but deadly, the plant is a garden thug.

The reason Briza Maxima rattles so fetchingly in the breeze is that the darling little tear drop seed heads are full of seeds; the plant is a prolific self seeder and this year, due to our mild winter, it has done exactly that, all winter. The garden is covered all over in a lush green growth of Greater Quaking Grass and has taken two whole days of weeding to get rid of it.

A lesson for life: do not be fooled by superficial beauty; always look for the big sword.

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