Monday, August 16, 2010

Weeds and other pesky surprises

Most folks look upon weeds as a 'bad' thing. Gotta get 'em out of the garden, yard, etc. Even if it means using toxic chemicals. HUH? Do you realize that lots of what we consider 'weeds' are not only useful, many have medicinal properties that have been used for eons. So how come we're always tryin' to kill them? 

Maybe it's because we consider them unsightly. Or maybe we just don't know their value. Or..maybe we have a penchant toward 'pristine' lawns? I don't know about you, but in my world weeds are a given. When you live in rural America, there are gonna be weeds. No getting around it. So I thought it might be fun to find out what weeds can be of use to me and how to get the most benefit. Here are a few things I found:

Dandelions: Probably one of the most common in most every yard. My mom used to pick them and put them in salads or mix them in with scrambled eggs (one of my Dad's favorites). Yep. Dandelions are edible (both the leaves AND the flowers!) and even DELICIOUS if you pick them when they're small. They're also great companion plants to various grains and tomatoes. They attract honeybees (always a good thing!) and are used as a diuretic in herbal medicine. Oh...and Dandelion tea is terrific for congestion. No kidding.

Clover: It's actually a member of the legume family. Great companion plant to a host of veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, squash, melons and gourds. Also fertilizes the soil, and provides a humid micro-climate that benefits lots of plants by stabilizing their moisture. Who knew?

There are lots of others including Bashful Mimosa, Cocklebur, Crow Garlic, Goldenrod, Horse Nettle, Milkweed, Nasturtium, Nettle, Queen Anne's Lace (yep. it's a weed!), and Wild Mustard. I'm sure there are tons more..but you get the idea. WEEDS ARE NOT 'BAD' THINGS!

There's a reason why I'm writing about weeds today, and it isn't just to give you a gardening lesson. It's got everything to do with something I read a few days ago; and it's had me thinking ever since (uh-oh). About how some people are like weeds. You know the ones: they show up uninvited, mess up the whole pretty picture, suck the life outta your garden and no matter how many times you pull 'em out, they just keep showing up again. So what do you do about it? What can you do, short of drowning them in poison, and still keep your garden healthy?

Maybe, like the weeds just mentioned, you can find their hidden value. Maybe, instead of fighting with 'em, you can find a way to integrate them into your garden as useful remedies. Maybe, just maybe, once you stop resisting their annoying presence you will see just how beneficial they are. Like thorns on a rose. There for a reason. There for you to grow. There for you to see what you might otherwise miss about yourself or your own annoying habits. Things you want to cultivate. More patience. More compassion. More YOU. Often times it is our immutable belief(s) that keep us from growing our best garden. Those 'weeds' can push us past our rigid perspectives into a more flexible sway. Know what I mean?

Well, maybe it's a stretch. Or maybe there's something here that you hadn't thought about before. Hope so. What I know right now is that there is value in most everything. Even the weeds in our lives. I'm gonna start picking more and using them to nourish myself. Enough with the fighting already. Push comes to shove, I'll just let those weeds fade on their own. It's bound to happen...eventually. 

Now...for some Dandelion Soup.


Joyce said...

I like your take on weeds. We have lots in our yard, some that we purposely transplanted here; Queen Ann's Lace, Spanish Needle, even Purple Coneflower, though it's kinda been taken out of the 'weed' category. :)
We do have one I'd love to either find a use for, or an effective way to eliminate it. Creeping Charlie. If we could find a use for it, I could be really wealthy. :)

Connie Baum said...

I have weeds...people who sap my energy, push my hot buttons, bring out the worst in me. It would not be prudent to spray them with the stuff The Normanator uses on his garden's slugs, so I shall make every effort to see what the lesson might be that they offer me.

There are garden varieties of lovely blooms in my life, too. For example, one of my most favorite authors (Are you blushing, Camille?) and others who sit in my circle and decorate my life with loveliness and the perfume of love.

Mother Connie