A few years ago I volunteered to help cut down the invasive weed, Scottish Broom that is spreading over the Island.  This is a weed that is worse than dandelions.  It is an evergreen bush that produces millions of seeds after blooming in April.  The rest of the year it is an ugly evergreen plant that can grow to 10 feet.  You can burn it or chop it down but it grows back as if it was from outer space.

It has only one weakness.  If you cut the plant when it is in bloom in April with yellow flowers at the ground level, it dies.  Any other time of the year if you cut the plant at the ground it will come up with a dozen sprouts.  When it grows in open spaces it kills off the young trees that would otherwise come up after clear cutting such as along roads and in parks.

Up and down the Island there are volunteer groups called Broombusters trying to cut them back in the bloom months of April and May.

It is truly a hopeless task.  Best they can do is try to clear public parks and trails.  This is the time when they are blooming with yellow flowers and there are lots of people that say why are you cutting these lovely flowers when the rest of the year it is an ugly plant.

A few years ago I joined the forlorn club to try and bust Broom in Bloom.  Using loppers and hand pruning shears we try to clear swathes of these invasive weeds.  I say we only in the generous sense of my participation because I only do it once or twice a week.

Cutting broom is physically exhausting.  Squeezing the loppers to cut stems 1 inch in diameter and dragging the bush to a pile is a better workout then you could ever get at a club.  I feel guilty because I take days to recover from each day out and yet there are people that do this every day during the blooming season in April.

As we are away this weekend when the groups normally show up I felt guilty, so went this morning to clear Broom along Ryan Road.

Lots of muscle pain tonight, but a feeling of satisfaction.  I like to think it is like Mother Theresa trying to convert people in India to Christianity.  Never going to convert them all but you are rewarded for the effort and the success in the small area.   And some Tylenol helps.

Scotch broom