May 15, 2007


For weeks I've been seeing these weird little plants growing up through hedges around campus. In the middle of a bed of ivy next to Cloyne, all over the shrubby hedges around the library, all over the place. They've got spindly, gangly stems, huge rows of tiny paired leaves, tiny purple flowers, and these weird little pods that look for all the world like baby green beans. I figured I was losing my mind, since the last time I checked green beans don't grow as intrusive weeds in Northern California.

But you know what does?


I finally had a breakthrough in figuring out what they were when I found a picture of a fava bean plant in one of my library books of botanical deliciousness. It was close but not quite right, so I started Googling bean plants, then pea plants, and voila! Berkeley is overrun with what are unmistakably rogue pea plants, smirkily snaking their slinky vines around better-behaved border plants and hanging on for dear life. I stopped to look at one of them this morning and found its tendrils grabbing so firmly onto the other plant's stem that I don't envy the landscaper who's eventually directed to remove them.

Guerilla gardening! Anarchist agriculture! The finger to the university's neatly-manicured landscaping! The domesticates are not as domestic as we thought! I think I'm going to snag some peas and bring them home to see if they're edible. They will taste delicious with all the passion and fury of a Pisum sativum out to change the world.

Or at least make it slightly more full of peas.

Posted by dianna at May 15, 2007 07:38 PM