Make Peace with the Weeds

by Melissa Blundon. CANP, AOLCP

9 Garden Care 9 Make Peace with the Weeds

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This year, because of the abundance of rain and hot July temperatures, the weeds are absolutely thriving. This has made it very difficult to keep up with them. I’ve tried but, in the end, I have decided that the best thing to do is to make peace with the weeds. I have accepted that they will always be a part of the garden. I understand that, while weeds do need attention to keep from becoming overwhelming, we can learn to live with them.

The first step to living with them is knowing your plants and weeds. This knowledge and the ability to recognize a variety of different plants in different stages of growth, is helpful and prevents pulling out desirable ones. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a weed as “a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth, especially: one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.” This means that differentiating between weeds and plants comes down to what the “eyes of the beholder” considers desirable.

In the wild, where all things live free, the weeds may overcome the flower, but, when tamed in the garden, they can live side by side.”
— Anonymous

While some weeds can be invasive and overbearing, some can actually be valued and have beneficial qualities. For this reason, being able to identify different types and knowing which are serious trouble makers and which can be tamed is important. And, even if certain weeds are allowed to stay in the garden, they need close attention and monitoring. You will need to referee in order to ensure the weeds do not overcome other more desirable plants. In this way, the weeds can be tamed and even enjoyed in the garden. Some examples of plants that I sometimes allow in the garden are Violets (Viola), Wood Asters (Eurybia divaricate), Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), and Mullein (Mullein verbascum).

Unfortunately, there are certain weeds and situations when eradication is best or an absolute necessity. If possible, my favorite removal technique is to hand pull in these cases. I use herbicide as a last resort and, if I use it at all, I use an organic herbicide option. Another effective method is to spray vinegar, directly onto weeds at full strength on a sunny day. Other techniques that can be useful in eliminating weeds, without using chemicals, are boiling water, smothering and flame torching.

Just like the garden, in life the weeds are constant; unwanted problems or challenges, negative energies, unhealthy relationships or habits. These weeds can feel overwhelming at times, but just as in the garden, the first step in dealing with your weeds is knowing and making peace with them. You must learn to recognize which you can live with and which will choke you if not kept in check.