Life in the Weeds
Gardening is 80% maintenance and 20% appreciation for what you’ve accomplished. That ratio is likely way off the mark. It could be closer to 99% maintenance. This morning I was weeding the garden in dress clothes, using the time before I went to a birthday party to weed one of the beds. Such is the mind of a gardener that I thought to do this in dress clothes instead of tackling it before I showered and put on my Sunday best. I managed to keep most of the dirt off anyway.
Weeds are what you think they are. Most plants that naturally grow in your yard are natives that thrive in that environment, while others are aggressive invaders that, well, thrive in that environment. I didn’t invite the dandelions, clover, chickweed, maple seedlings and crabgrass to the party. But Leopard Plant Ligularia, Black Eyed Susan and the most aggressive of all, Morning Glory were once planted with eager anticipation for the show they’d put on in the garden. And the show is nice, but the seeds cast about in the wind growing everywhere? Not so nice.
Make no mistake, I don’t mind weeding. In fact I’m quite fond of it. Time weeding is “me time” (nobody else is volunteering) when I can think about anything or nothing at all. And it’s a part of the deal. You want a garden? Get down on your hands and knees and bow to the clover god. And when you’re done with clover there are dozens of Leopard Plant babies popping up all over the place.
Chemical sprays can kill weeds pretty quickly, especially in the heat of summer, but I try to use them in moderation. It’s one thing to spray the brick walk to knock down the weeds popping up in between. It’s another thing altogether to spray in an active garden. No, this is a task best accomplished with a good pair of grippy gloves and a comfortable pad to kneel on. And that’s where you’ll find me a few times each week, busily filling a galvanized steel bucket with weeds. May it go on forever.