By definition, a weed is any plant which is growing in the wrong place; although I would qualify this by saying that any Viola Labradorica or Asperula Odorata which chooses to seed itself between the flags on my patio is made very welcome.
Perhaps the commonest and certainly the most disliked among these weeds is the Dandelion. I have always thought it a pity that the Dandelion is seen as a weed, because if you look closely at it , it really is the most beautiful flower. And at around this time of year it borders almost every road and lane in the country. But, sadly, it is also one of the cleverest at spreading its seed. By making that pretty pom-pom head and waiting for a breezy day, it ensures that its offspring float over a wide area and mostly take root. One of its favourite rooting places seems to be in my lawn, where it pushes down its tap root far too deep to be persuaded to come out and I have to resort to a tiny spot of weedkiller in the crown.
But that is an easy job compared with getting rid of those two other weeds which RS Fitter in his wild flower book calls 'unauthorised wanderers.'
How I welcome the Celandine when it first opens its shiny yellow face to the sun. And I continue to enjoy it when it grows along a bank or a hedge-side out in the fields. But when it takes up residence in my tulip bed, making a delightful yellow carpet for the bright red tulips, I draw the line. 'Enjoy it while it lasts and then when I lift the bulbs I will get rid of it,' I think.
Ha! 'You and whose army'? I hear my father saying. It is quite shallow rooted but each root has hundreds of follicles and leave one in the ground and that is quite enough to get it going again for next year. Yes, I am afraid the message is that if you have Celandines then enjoy them and make the best of it.
And please.......don't get me started on Ground Elder.