Its easy to forget that privet is evil an invasive 1-28-16

Privet ...
Privet … Photo courtesy of University of California

If you live long enough, you might end up taking back some strongly stated opinions.

You may eat crow, swallow those words and see pigs fly.

I can’t remember if it was my mother, my sister or both who noted that I had allowed privet to grow in pots.

“What are you doing?”

These were not small, accidental springs or even a partially hidden volunteers.

As the plants in my pots have died, privet has taken over and I have continued to water the evil and invasive plants.

“I thought you said no one should ever, ever grow privet” the close family member reminded me.

She was absolutely correct. I’ve spent far too many precious moments ranting and raving about privet, yanking it out by the roots and adding it to the list of least wanted.

Most neighborhoods have one or more evil weeds that would take over all the soil if given a chance.

Mimosa trees, for example, are known to be take-over artists. In just a few short years you could have a yard with nothing but two-foot tall lacy mimosa shrubs.

My sister’s friend Debbie bought an older home in the Bay Area. The selling agent must have visited the home half an hour before potential buyers arrived.

When Debbie bought the home she learned the yard was so infested with ailanthus (Chinese tree of heaven). Shoots from the plant came up from the wooden deck, growing four feet each week. If you know this tree, you know this isn’t an exaggeration. Unfortunately, evil and invasive weed infestation is not one of the disclosures required in the real estate industry.

In Chico neighborhoods, people often battle Velcro weed, wild garlic, Johnson grass and wild grape.


In case you aren’t familiar with privet, its a hardy, quick-growing plant from the Ligustrum family, often used to form a hedge. You may be familiar with plant from films. If the character lives in a huge, New England manor, the mile-long driveways are often flanked with privet.

(This privacy factor is why I was considering putting some of those sprouts along my wire fence).

The plant can be a bush, if whacked back, or can disguise itself as a tree.

Underneath the bush or tree, you’ll see a pile of slightly purple, black berries.

After the birds gobble those berries, they drop their bird poop on light-colored cars.

My boyfriend’s car was so splattered it looked as if the clan of Duck Dynasty had decided to chew wads of tobacco and use my boyfriend’s car as a spitting target.

With the help of the birds, seeds are distributed throughout the neighborhood.

It’s no surprise the seeds made it to the empty pots near my front door.

“What’s the deal?” my family member asked?

I guess I wasn’t thinking.

It was easy to refresh my memory through an online search for information. I typed in “privet” and “invasive.”


We have not had a hard freeze in the valley, which means people still have plenty of lemons to share. Laura, my friend at work, shared her trick for easy lemon zest.

She keeps a lemon in the freezer. When she needs a little bit of lemon zest, she pulls out the frozen ball and grates enough for that meal or beverage.

You can also juice several lemons right now and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Most recipes, including my favorite lemon bars, require just a small amount of lemon juice.

Before discarding the lemon peel and remaining pulp, some people like to rub the citrus all over their sinks in the kitchen and bathroom. You can also grind up the fragrant fruit in the garbage disposal to freshen up the pipes.

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