Welcome to Summer, 2018.
You’ve probably heard the song…“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy?” I’ll lay you 10 to 1 odds, that song writer didn’t have a garden. I have had gardens in the past, but this is not going to be a gardening post. Anyone with a lawn and/or flowerbeds will appreciate this along with the gardeners who are reading. The subject today is: Weeds—You Can’t Live With ‘Em and You Can’t Live Without ‘Em.
For the last two weeks, every evening after supper, I’ve been going out to study weeds. I thought you might be interested in some of the things I’ve discovered.
Weeds are tricky. Some of them look like what they are not, and many of them grow where we plant other things, so I’ve developed a sort of checklist for some of you new gardeners.
How to tell if it’s a weed:
- If it starts to sprout 3-5 days after you planted something…it’s a weed.
- If it grows 6 inches a day…it’s a weed.
- If it’s green in late June, July or August…it’s a weed.
- If it has a pretty flower on it shortly after it breaks through the soil…it’s a weed.
- If that pretty flower turns into thousands of little seed sails that fly away at the slightest breeze, or stick tightly to your socks, your dogs, your hair or any food product carried by a child…it’s a weed.
- If you yank on it and it has a root that pulls up your septic tank lid, or it snaps off neatly at the soil, leaving the root to sprout again…it’s a weed.
- If it comes up in the middle of your blacktop driveway or concrete patio…it’s a weed.
- If it grows anywhere you don’t want it…it’s a weed. This rule is a little tricky, because somebody in the audience always brings up grass. While it’s true that grass is not technically a weed…you’ve all seen or experienced grass that will not, no matter how much you weed and feed, simply will not grow in the vast expanse of your lawn, but can’t be kept out of your flower beds. For you I will repeat Rule 8: If it grows anywhere you don’t want it…it’s a weed!
In case you think I’m being too harsh, though, I must say I think some weeds are really very nice. Dandelions, for instance, get a bum wrap. My grandmother used to pick and cook dandelion greens and even as a child I thought they were quite tasty. While it’s true I’ve never actually gone out into the yard and picked any myself, I intend to someday and in the meantime, it’s nice to look out at the yellow carpet that is my lawn and know I won’t starve to death if I run out of food. Besides there’s a certain charm to any weed that can make a kid’s face light up the way dandelions do. What a pretty bouquet they make, clutched in a tiny little hand.
Another weed I’ve known and loved is honeysuckle. I know, I know! It’ll sneak and creep and wrap itself around any slow moving object and pull old buildings and fences down like quicksand, but oh! the scent of honeysuckle on a hot summer night when the fireflies dance like fairies and the frogs and crickets sing songs that make other frogs and crickets fall in love.
Maybe the guy who wrote that song…“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy”…maybe he didn’t have a garden, but I bet he had smelled that honeysuckle breeze!