The glue that holds Natchez together

Do y’all know about kudzu?  It has made itself such a southern presence that to speak of it I had to use the “y’all”.  Nothing else sounded correct. Kudzu has been called “the vine that ate the South”, and that is not far from the truth in Natchez.

I find it interesting that kudzu is another “pest” that was not native to the United States but was imported to solve a problem.  In the case of kudzu, it is very good at holding a hill together, thus preventing erosion.  That’s all good, but if it isn’t constantly, severely disciplined it will swallow up buildings, too.

Natchez is built on a bluff beside the Mississippi River.  St. Catherine’s creek winds through town in deep gullies, headed for the river.  Steep surfaces, water, and a rainy climate are set-ups for erosion damage.  Enter the kudzu:  here it is up close, in a nearly hip-high hedge at the top of a steep hill.Those leaves are as big as grape leaves!  I wonder if you could use them in Greek cooking?  I know, from Iron Chef, that the Japanese have made a thickening powder (like corn starch or tapioca) from Kudzu.

This lawn is at the welcome center, and they trim the kudzu this way as often as they mow the yard.  Beyond the hedge the entire hill is kudzu!  That’s the Mississippi river and Vidalia, LA on the far bank.  The pictures of the river in the last post were taken near that red-roofed building.

Let me show you some more pictures of “Natchez holding it together”.The building in the upper right is a motel overlooking the river.  (A yield sign for the kudzu?  Is that like “Prepare to meet your doom!” ? )

At the river side of the bluff the kudzu is holding up the retaining wall!Most of the green you see beyond the bridge is that retaining wall with its net of kudzu.

I just had to share these pictures with you because every time I hear about Kudzu Natchez comes to mind.  It really is the poster-child for recovery from erosion threat, as they have managed to (mostly) keep the vine in check.  Emerald City, you say?

 

 

 

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