Mostly Not About Leopardi’s “La Ginestra,” But Also Mostly About It

Leopardi’s broom is an invasive species here in California. Not literally: on Vesuvius grows Genista tinctoria, dyer’s broom, while its cousins are the ones that run wild over millions of acres of California. (After Leopardi’s death, the dyer’s broom was joined by much larger broom trees from Mt. Etna, in a form of horticultural solidarity not dreamt of in his philosophy.) Heath plants, lovers of acidic soil, they grow feral and thick and welcome fire. Is landscaping not itself hubris? With what humility should it be conducted?

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