Thursday, March 11, 2010


The little old lady who lived in the house before us was a gardener. She kept the yard up exquisitely. During escrow, I would drive by and look at the house…out of pure excitement, and see the 70 something old lady mowing the lawn, with her big straw hat on. The back yard was even more immaculate than the front. Neatly trimmed trees lined the fences all the way around to create a sense of privacy, soft clover cushioned the tree roots underneath. The koi pond was clear as day, no algae (no fish either because her cleaning secret was chlorine). The lawn looked like something out of Better Homes and Gardens. There was one plant that the old lady could not tame…in this pristine manicured garden she could not tame Jumanji.

Jumanji is not the actual name of this plant. My mother in law thought it was Elephant Ear, and although the leaves are the size of an elephant's ear, it is actually called a Split Leaf something or other. Jumanji is a tropical plant. Why the little old lady decided to plant Jumanji is a mystery. Everything about the yard was so neat, sort of English gardenish… Okay, I’ll admit I don’t know a lot about gardening, but it really does look out of place. Perhaps Jumanji preceded the little old lady? She probably tried to tame it, but soon realized like the Siegfried and Roy tiger… no one tames Jumanji.

The plant is nick named Jumanji for the movie, Jumanji, with Robin Williams. The movie is about a jungle safari board game that comes to life and the problems that result. The plant is similar to the creepy vines that take over the whole house and try capturing the little children and squeezing them to death. Our Jumanji has a root that grows, not in the soil like a normal plant, but half way down the side of our house on the cement. One day I will be in the back yard and almost out of nowhere another root will be creeping its way toward our house, attempting a takeover.

Every now and then, Danny and I attempt to restore the yard to its former glory. We get out the trimmers and hack away at Jumanji. Within a week the plant will look like it has never been trimmed.

During the spring/summer months, Jumanji blossoms. Its flowers are not delicate, beautiful, or sweet smelling. Instead they are phallus like, and ooze a yellow puss looking liquid that smells like pollen smothered with sour milk. If I am pruning the plant at this time, I always wear gloves….the ooze will probably mutate me into some crazy X Men character.

So Jumanji stays. It is more powerful than pruning shears and at times creates a child like fear in me. The only time when I feel a sense of victory over Jumanji, is when Tayler and Butch are let outside and immediately mark their territory on the jungle plant.


  1. I've read most of your blogs and I found them amusing and also enertaining... Everything a blog should be ;0). I've always wanted to Blog but could never find the time. - Shell

  2. Jess, jumanji is nothing that Danny, me, a chainsaw, and 12 pack of miller high life coudn't handle. Just keep that in mind.