Tag Archives: Weeds

Weeding in a Dynamic Landscape: A Goal Oriented Strategy

The Over Thinking Series, part two

Weeding seems simple enough, but that’s the problem with simple things…they often aren’t.

Ugh! Gronk see weed??? !!!Gronk pull weed!!!

It isn’t rocket science, but we’re not stamping out widgets on a production line either…the first one the same as the 13,649th one. Landscapes are living systems containing many complex relationships and feedback loops. Just because most people don’t pay attention doesn’t mean that it’s simple. Continue reading


Desirable Plants, Thugs and Weeds: The Fine Line Between Good and Bad

Our native Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa with Siberian Squill, Scilla siberica…both of these are ‘weedy’ in my garden, the Dicentra spreading quickly from its brittle rhizome while the Squill, an extremely ‘successful’ old fashioned garden plant, persists and increases even in long neglected gardens and homesteads. While neither of these are technically ‘weeds’ they both possess degrees of vigor and adaptability that have allowed them to persist, often in spite of our efforts to limit or eliminate them.

The first in the critically acclaimed ‘Over-Thinking Series’

What is a weed? What differentiates it from any other plant? What about plants like Golden Creeping Jenny? I know those who call it a weed. Is it a matter of generally accepted horticultural opinion? One is on the list and the other isn’t? Is it more than simply a plant we did not plant? We all have those fortuitous seedling volunteers that appear bringing with them a little garden magic. Some of these prove themselves to be quite remarkable and, if found by the right person, if they retain their desirable characteristics when propagated and are stable over time, may become the next rage among the garden fashionistas. They aren’t weeds are they? While not planned for we may choose to welcome certain such plants. To just define weeds as plants out of place, is to render the word almost useless as an aid to understanding our problem.

There is no conspiracy going on in the garden. No malignant intelligence plots and schemes to upset our plans. Not every seed germinates. Not every bit of rhizome or tuber will take over the garden/world without our intervention. Weeds are plants and within the limits of their own genetics they either grow or die. If a seed of Calypso bulbosa finds itself on the ground in the desert. It will not germinate. Eventually it will lose its viability. No one will notice its absence because it never belonged there. All plants possess a degree of vigor. All plants have within themselves a range of conditions they can grow and prosper in. Weeds, are plants that possess the vigor and adaptability to be successful under the range of conditions that we as humans typically occupy. Because we occupy these places, disturb them, because we move about and conduct trade with those elsewhere, we have ‘weeds’. These are merely the plants that do well in the places that we habitually have created. What we should be talking about instead is the quality of ‘weediness’, that blend of adaptability and vigor, that these plants possess.

(Readers should be aware that there are no pretty pictures to either break up the following text or to graphically ‘hammer the lesson home’. Continue reading