Friday, 30 April 2010

When is a weed not a weed?

Ah weeds! The bane of the gardener's life - a constant battle from April to October - turn your back and they have won.
In the lawn two forget me nots have seeded themselves and they stand tall along the path edge. Our lawn mower is ill and is at the doctor's but today the farmer is going to hire a mower as we have so much lawn, so I am afraid that by night fall the forget me nots will be gone.
In my favourite bed of red tulips, which contrary to all gardening advice are left in the ground each year and have multiplied tenfold, lesser celandine has taken root and is now forming complete ground cover (have you ever tried to eradicate celandine?) Solomon's Seal, one of my favourite plants, is pushing up through the celandines too. I have tried moving little bits of him but he always dies - that is his spot and he is sticking to it.
Later on I know a particular patch of robust buttercups will call itself ranunculus and flourish in the border next to its cousin the globe flower.
And who is heartless enough to pull up those heavenly heartsease - the wild pansies - which scatter themselves all over our veggie garden every year and surprise us with their hybridised multi flowers. They come up in such unlikely places - along the pea row, amongst the broad beans - suddenly one day they are in bloom so we leave them to seed and we get another show next year.
No - leave these things in - I say, although whether I say it in desperation because they are almost impossible to eradicate or whether, like Ronald Blythe, I leave them in in the hopes of creating a Giverney effect it is difficult to say. Of course the thing about Giverney is that we mostly see it only in Monet's paintings and they are impressionistic enough to blend the weed colours in so that we don't see them. Have you ever taken a photograph of a bit of your garden? If you have you will know that somehow the weeds don't show up in the photo.
Soon our lane will be lined with cow parsley and Queen Anne's Lace - so far they have not ventured into our front garden. But I know if they do I shall have a job to pull them up because I can see one or two bare patches of soil where a frothy mass of pale cream would look beautiful.

Suckers and seeds, the weeds will win,
we'll 'ave the 'ole world for our own.
Then oh how glorious will come in
the era of the great self-sown. (Ronald Blythe)

I will post photographs later if the sun comes out.

22 comments:

Dave King said...

Good for you. Let's hear it for the weed! I am a weed fan, always have been.

acornmoon said...

"A weed is a flower growing in the wrong place" I read somewhere. My garden is full of celandine, they do no harm so they stay and battle it out with violets, and red dead nettle.

Poor little forget-me-not. I hope he is still standing!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Lovely post. If it were not for the way we categorize them, perhaps we would welcome them with more delight.

Derrick said...

Let's just call them 'wild flowers', Weaver! Some are more intrusive than one might like but I guess that comes from having to fend for themselves. Staying power!

Elisabeth said...

To me they're not weeds, Weaver. they are so pretty.

It's such a treat to read about the flowers - weeds - in the open after all that winter snow.

I'm still amazed at how quickly winter has passed, from here that is. For you it probably felt as though it lasted an eternity.

Totalfeckineejit said...

If ya can't beat them...!?
I'm rather fond of buttercups but give them an inch and they'll take threemiles.Our garden is not untidy but it is far from manucured so I'm happy to live in (relative) harmony with the weedy flowers.But I WILL NOT TOLERATE snails and slugs and greenfly.All of which must be poked, battered,shot, squished and squashed on sight.

Ps love them little 'heartsease' as you call them.Your blog is as informative as it is charming.

Totalfeckineejit said...

MANICURED (my spelling is not that bad, Miss!)

Dartford Warbler said...

Our garden is full of "wild flowers". I love celandines, bluebells, germander speedwell,violets,flowering dead nettle and so many of the vagrants that find their way into borders and pathways. They are so important as a source of nectar for early bees.

The only weeds that are given short shrift around here are ground elder and hairy bitter cress. Even so, they keep coming back......

I hope that your forget me nots survive. We have some that appear unbidden through the gravel drive every year.

willow said...

Your weeds sound so much more romantic than my poke weeds, chick weeds and thistles.

Heather said...

We only see the weeds in our own garden Pat. I'm sure we would all think that yours is beautiful. I have forget-me-not, celandine, and violets in abundance and turn a blind eye to most of them. At least celandine fades right away until next year when it does brighten up the borders before much else is flowering. Heartsease I can't pull up - I love it. As for cowparsley - I believe there is a trendy one with purple leaves which probably wouldn't grow for me if I wanted it to. I've often picked a big vaseful of cowparsley and put it on the mantelpiece - as lovely as any florist's bouquet.

maggi said...

I have some lovely weeds too which are welcome to share my space, including some cow parsley. Incidentally I never take up my tulips either but it is the red ones that seem to migrate to totally different parts of the garden,

Pondside said...

There are plants that we call weeds here in the Pacific Northwest but I know that if they were seen in the east they'd be nurtured and treasured. In the days before our Deer Fence weeds were sometimes the only colour to be seen in the garden!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems most of us like weeds, or at least tolerate them. Six hours after posting I am afraid those brave little forget me nots (there were two of them) have fallen to the lawn mower. Still - a short life but a merry one.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I just took a look at my garden. A closer inspection says I need to get out there and weed, although the green bean plants are doing a pretty good job at hiding them.

Would love to see a photo of those red tulips.

Reader Wil said...

Some weeds are very beautiful! Once I asked a Welsh farmer, what the name was of a special flower. He answered:"Oh that's weed!"

Bee's Blog said...

I've seem your name on various pages so I 'snuck' in here today to take a peek at your page and I'm so very glad I did. Your writings have made me homesick for North Yorkshire where I once lived - not far from you!

Lovely page!

Scotsman said...

Funny thing weeds its just a matter of perspective. I remember when I was younger rolling down a hill in the local park playing with the dandylions. Not caring whether it was a weed or a wildflower. Then later in life struggling to get them out of lawns before they took over. Of course later I was wondering why I bothered - in Scotland it was too wet to have a decent lawn without lots of moss without too much in the way of hard graft and in Utah it needs way too much artificially added water.

Weeds are just plants that generally tend to do well where you don't want them but a change of perspective can soon change that.

Hildred and Charles said...

Oh weeds, - they keep me permanently bent over every time I go outside, - even to walk the dog. Our bane is buttercups, coutch grass, Chinese Lanterns, a plethora of common yarrow and I see the violets are making inroads into the poppies and the iris. I love your kitchen garden - so neat and orderly and I an sure it must be extremely productive. Your bank is lovely too, Weaver.

Golden West said...

I have no shortage of weeds, despite my best efforts. The spring borders with bulbs have peaked already - no more daffodils or irises - it seemed to come and go so quickly this year!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the constructive comments. I see today that the RSPB are suggesting that we mow our lawns less often to help birds to get at the worms. Less mowing? That should please a lot of gardeners. If we decided that weeds are "in" as well then we can sit all afternoon in a deck chair, sipping iced lemonade.
Have a nice weekend.

Babette Fraser Hale said...

Leaving the weeds alone is our motto, especially in spring. (We do call them wildflowers, and we wait until they set seed, then away we go on the mower.) We set parameters, though: not in flower beds; and we mow the fence lines so the place doesn't look unloved. Oh, how I would love some of your English lawn!--Bdogs

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love all the wild flowers (apart from Giant Hogweed, Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed which are evil) and as acornmoon says they're only weeds if they're in the wrong place,