Monday, May 20, 2013

Weeds Sprout Everywhere

I think this may be a wildflower. I found it on one of my walks.  It sort of looks like a yellow version of Baby's Breath, I suppose.  Or it could be a weed. 

And that is okay.  It is okay if this is a weed. 

We tend to look down on weeds.  They're considered ugly, they tend to show up where they aren't wanted, and when they do show up, they make a big mess of the lawn or the garden.  In other words, weeds are sort of like that not-quite-right branch of the family tree that nobody wants to invite to Thanksgiving dinner.  Without the passing out on the front lawn or probation officer visits.

But maybe we need to rethink how we view those pesky weeds. 

Weeds are survivors.  No matter how inhospitable the soil, a weed can find a way to survive. Weed seeds are carried on the wind, by animals, and sometimes by us, to all sorts of strange locales.  Along highways, in deserts, sub-zero temperatures, weeds will grow.  I imagine that if someone tried hard enough, they could get weeds to grow in Antarctica.  There may even be pods or seeds underneath the ice on that forbidden continent, just in case the temperatures rise once more.   And as long as none of those pods are alien creatures that like to jump out of a person's chest cavity, that's great.

Weeds contribute to the planet.  Where weeds flower, bees can pollinate and make honey.  Where weeds grow, insects and small creatures can eat them and stay alive during hard times.  Humans can even eat some weeds, such as dandelions.  Some weeds can be used as medications, such as bloodwort or foxglove(I know that most of you are smart enough not to ever eat foxglove just because I mention it, but for that .0001%: DO NOT EAT FOXGLOVE!)  Some weeds can be turned into baskets to carry things, which can be extremely helpful.  

Weeds are resilient.  They grow where they want, when they want.  If they are sprayed with weed-killer, those weeds just develop a resistance to the poison and keep growing, anyway.  If you run over them with a lawn mower fourteen times, there will still be that single leaf sticking up defiantly.  If you get a shovel and try to dig them up by their roots, weeds will make sure to break off a root or two, so the plant can regenerate bigger and better. 

So weeds are survivors, they are resilient, and they contribute to the benefit of the planet.  We humans pride ourselves on our ability to do all of those things.  We celebrate survivors, resilience, and giving back in humans.  Yet we go out of our way to try and kill weeds for the very same things.  Why?  Because a long time ago, someone sold us on the idea that our lawns must be green and weed free.  It was probably Monsanto, because they are getting the blame for everything these days.  I like a green lawn as much as the next person, but a green lawn is a lot of work.  It requires water and fertilizer and weed killer and constant care.  Who has time for that?  The weeds need very little water to thrive, and they are just as green as the grass.  True, there are tons of prickly weeds out there, but I don't go barefoot in the yard anyway because of the snakes and the possibility of spare rodent body parts.  Perhaps if I were living further North, I'd feel differently, but I doubt it.  I am about the low maintenance.  

So here is to the lowly weed, who is probably a closer metaphor for humanity than we would like to contemplate.  Also, this is not a shameless attempt to avoid mowing my own lawn. 


  1. A great metaphor for humanity. All the rain we are getting is making the dandelions prosper in my yard.

    1. I hope that you have a recipe for dandelion wine!!

  2. I sometimes think weeds are prettier than some flowers...

  3. I think the plant you have pictured is "Wild Mustard". I have often thought about how they make dandelion wine. That would take a heck of a lot of picking.

  4. I wanted to thank you for your time.


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