Saturday, 11 June 2011

In defence of weeds

A bit like a pansy, the thought of a weed really doesn't get the back garden juices flowing.

Unlike pansies, weeds are tough. They'll survive where they're not welcome, get up every time they're knocked down and work so hard at getting nutrients they are first up at the sight of spring sunshine.

But we relentlessly cut back, spray and hoe them down. They are notoriously not welcome amongst our pre-planned arrangement of vegetables.

Every book you will ever read on kitchen gardening will insist that  keeping on top of weeding is vital to protect your veg from competition. I tried onions and garlic early on in spring for the first time and was warned to keep a vigilant eye our for these nutrient thiefs.

I'm now very attached to my hoe (that's just wrong on every level).

A treat to myself from my favourite garden centre, Riverside, (they don't pay me, perhaps they should?) it's sharp good looking and mean, and has kept my prepared soil in good nick. I couldn't conceive gardening without it again.

However, the patio has been allowed to run wild. Not deliberately of course, this man has just had to prioritise this spring and weeding the patio...well, it requires effort.

Yet leaving the weeds in peace has led to a surprising development (to me at least). They don't look too bad once they flower:

We all like flowers don't we? Unless we have hayfever. Bursts of colour under grey skies, nectar for the bees, endless variety. And to prove once and for all the maxim that weeds are just plants in the wrong place, this is actually wild rocket growing in between the cracks!

So are they actually to be admired? They're resilient, yet give them time and space they reveal a softer side, a desire to actually give us what we want.

Weeds. Just misunderstood.

(PS Thank you to Emma who took charge of my camera to snap the weeds)


ozhene said...

Totally agree that weeds are plants in the wrong place. I do spend my life weeding the veg beds at the moment though. I think I might have the start of a national collection on herb Robert!

Allotment #65 said...

I partly agree, some weeds I do leave in for the Bees sake, but most are Hoed out! Nice Blog bye the way.

GraceandFlavour said...

I have found myself apologising (out loud) to some weeds as I hoik them out - how sad is that! Never nettles though, I have never apologised to a nettle.

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.