CRAIG BROWN: Top 10 weed facts… we're knot kidding
CRAIG BROWN: Top 10 weed facts… we’re knot kidding
1 There are now 50,000 known outcrops of Japanese knotweed in the UK. Its appearance changes with the season: in the autumn it is yellow, in the winter it is dark brown, in the spring it has red shoots and in the summer it tends to wear a straw hat and a Garrick Club tie.
2 In Cardiff, a clump of Japanese knotweed has begun self-identifying as carnations.
‘It is disgraceful that we are not available for sale in corner shops and on garage forecourts,’ says a spokesweed for the JKAG (Japanese Knotweed Action Group). ‘Those who continue to deny that we are the equal of carnations and daffodils are nothing but flower fascists.’
3 A breakaway pressure group, FJK (Friends of Japanese Knotweed) declare in its manifesto that they are Proud To Be Knotweed. FJK militants are threatening to invade this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. ‘Time and time again we have attempted to reach out to the organisers, just to see if we can come to some civilised arrangement. But all they do is spray us with triple-strength weedkiller upon arrival. This is no way to treat the fastest-growing group of flowers in the world.’
‘There are now 50,000 known outcrops of Japanese knotweed (pictured) in the UK’
4 Hoping to ‘promote the values of the 21st century’, BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time has issued a secret memo to all panellists advising them to ‘tread very carefully’ when tackling issues raised by Japanese knotweed.
‘When talking of Japanese knotweed, take steps never to employ exclusionary phrases such as “waging war”, “getting rid of” or “eradicating”.
‘Our station offers a safe space for all garden plants. There’s no such thing as a weed — only new flowers to get to know.
‘We are hard at work developing plans to offer a leading member of their community, Jilly Knotweed, a place on the GQT panel this coming autumn.’
5 The JKMB (Japanese Knotweed Marketing Board) is spending more than two million pounds on a major promotion of Japanese knotweed as a quick and easy food, ideal for those precious moments when you want to eat something green and plentiful.
JK Burgers and Chips, JK Baps and JK Wraps will all be available in fast-food chains within the next few months, with Brooklyn Beckham heading the new ‘JK… Mmm, It Tastes Good’ advertising campaign.
6 In 2009, the horror film Invasion Of The Japanese Knotweed, starring Alan Rickman as the leader of the knotweed invaders, failed to make an impact and went straight to video.
‘That movie was way ahead of its time,’ says producer Harvey B. Trout. ‘Back then, the general public had barely heard of Japanese knotweed. But nowadays, it’s widespread.
‘BAFTA is even discussing whether to introduce a new category, Best Japanese Knotweed In A Supporting Role, which will, of course, be non gender-specific.’
Alan Rickman starred in the 2009 horror film Invasion Of The Japanese Knotweed, which failed to make an impact and went straight to video.
7 Rumour at BBC Radio 2 has it that outgoing disc jockey Ken Bruce will be replaced by a ‘chatty and very cheery’ member of the Japanese knotweed family.
‘We’ve been greatly impressed by the spread and reach of Japanese knotweed in recent years and, as our listeners know, we’ve always been a station that prides itself on being up to date,’ says station controller Jim Beady.
‘We’re confident our listeners will grow to love the comforting tones of our all-new knotweed disc jockey as they sit and relax with their tea and JK biscuits.’
8 Former prime minister Liz Truss has promoted a Japanese knotweed to a senior position in her team. Formerly her good luck charm, the knotweed is to take over in the role of special adviser.
9 The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited a Japanese knotweed centre in Southern California last Tuesday, on Knotweed Awareness Day.
‘I want you all to know that we love you and we feel your pain,’ said the duchess to a room packed with Japanese knotweed.
The duke high-fived one gathering of plants, while the duchess discussed ways to counteract Knotweed Oppression with another.
In a moving speech, the duke revealed that the Royal Family had never allowed knotweed into the gardens at Buckingham Palace, due to unconscious bias against the plant.
10 Asked if the Sussexes would themselves be welcoming knotweed to their garden in Montecito, a spokesman for the couple declined to comment.
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