The creeping thistle

There was a time when all was calm in Le Grand Pressigny.

But…. one day, when I had not much else to do, I passed the time away reading the decrees posted in the entrance of the Town Hall.

Fishing season dates

I thought to myself, whose business is it to tell the fish when it's safe to go in the water?

Planning permission for construction work

No planning permission was required, but as they asked, the council though it would be a good idea to grant it - subject to conditions, of course - they would have been better off keeping quiet about it.

Destruction of thistles. Destruction of thistles!!!

All farmers, property owners . . . (that's us) . . . in Indre et Loire . . . (that's here) . . . must destroy all creeping thistles (Cirsium arvense) by any possible means. The penalty for non compliance is . . .

The penalty is what? I don't know because I did not read on - I ran back to the house.

Have the other invaders - hundreds of bee orchids, thousands of wild cyclamen, tens of thousands of wild violets - have they left a little corner of our garden for persecuted creeping thistles?

We quarter our little park. Here we find a Carduus tenuiflorus, more delicate than the creeping thistle, there we find a Cirsium dissectum, the British field thistle, but we are not out to attack immigrants. All's safe, there are no creeping thistles hiding in our garden.

We go out into the lane. In the distance, against our wall, there are some small purple dots.

What can it be?

We go up to have a look - aaarrgh, it's Cirsium arvense, there is no doubt at all. We pull up all the plants - ouch, it prickles - and go looking for more. We find them on the other side of the wall - in our garden.

We beat them. We crush them. We tear them to bits.

We go hunting for them by day. We find not a leaf.

We go hunting for them in the evening. We find not a flower.

We go hunting for them by the feeble light of the glow worms. We find nothing!

Every night we lie awake in bed listening for the heavy tread of the MASSACRE (Ministère d'Agriculture Sous Section Anéantissement des Chardons Reconnus Envahisseurs - Ministry of Agriculture, subsection Annihilation of Invasive Thistles).

Have we eradicated all trace of Cirsium arvense or are there a few leaves or flowers left to betray us?

There was a time when all was calm in Le Grand Pressigny.

Some visitors to this site did not believe this story, but it's true - we in Touraine are required by law to destroy all cirsium arvense by mechanical or chemical means.

To find out more, use your favourite search engine to look for "cirsium arvense".

Apparently, this European species has spread to Canada, the USA (where it is called the Canadian thistle - very neighbourly) Australia (it likes the great outdoors). In all these countries, Cirsium arvense is not appreciated. You can find pages called "New methods for eradicating Cirsium arvense" and advice such as "If you find it, pull up all the roots and burn them".

"The only good Cirsium arvense is a dead Cirsium arvense" - but this one is not dead, it's just resting for the winter.

It's quince jam, or so they say

Design, text - the Alien
Photos - with the kind permission of Dan Tenaglia Missouri Flora,
Page layout - T-T-Web

The Alien

The music is the Chopin Winter Wind Etude Op 25 No11 played by Robert Finley.