The Invader

I noticed the ice plant is gone.  I knew it would be.  Once my husband gets an idea that something potentially harmful has perpetrated his property, it’s only a matter of time…

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law brought me some cuttings from an ice plant.  “It’s a beautiful plant, ” she told me.  “Plant it along the rockery and it gets the prettiest little flowers.” So the next day, while the twins were napping, my son and I had fun digging in the dirt and planting it in two different spots.

Then last weekend my son was watching one of his favorite Youtube shows, Brave Wilderness.  In this episode, Coyote Peterson was exploring the wildlife on some island in California.  He was talking to a naturalist who worked on the island and spent the majority of her time fighting an invasive species called…ice plant.

You should have seen my husband’s eyes widen when he put two and two together.  “What’s the name of that plant my mom gave you?” he asked in a near panic.

I briefly contemplated lying, but decided against it.  “Ice plant,” I said nonchalantly, like I didn’t know exactly what he was thinking.

“Are you serious? You’ve got to be kidding me,” he groaned, pushing away from the table where we were sitting.  He started pacing, running his hands through his hair.  I’m not sure what all he was muttering under his breath, but I am sure it involved many four-letter words.

“I doubt it’s the same thing.  Your mom said it’s in lots of garens around here,” I started in, trying to convince him to calm down but knowing it would do no good. I typed ice plant into my phone and found that there are about 1,900 different species of ice plant and that you can buy it at any nursery or order it from Burpee online.  “Look, if you can order it from Burpee I’m sure it’s safe to have in your garden.”

He stopped, looked me in the eye, and declared, “I’m going to pull it out.”

“Fine.” I’ve known this man for 15 years. I wasn’t going to change his mind.

Neither one of us said anything more about it, but I noticed when I came home that the ice plant is gone.



5 thoughts on “The Invader

  1. I love that the problem of whether this plant was an invasive species went unresolved; it shifts the focal point of your story to the relationship between you and your husband and a man and his garden!


  2. Love how the slice of life was such a split second moment of something you simply glanced at and noticed quickly, yet you so beautifully filled us in on the back story. Cool story!


  3. “I briefly contemplated lying.” Love that–as I read on, I realized the lie would have done no good. Does the ice plant produce those beautiful flowers? How sad…how funny, too. 15 years teaches you how to sometimes just step back and let things run their course. Maybe your husband will plant something new and beautiful to make up for the missing ice plant.


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