The short days of January mean it is time for me to pull out the seed and plant catalogs so I might sculpt my yard for future days, at least in my mind. I have often confessed I am not a ‘gardener’. I succeed to a certain extent because most of my yard is in native plants; they are hardy, frost and drought resistant and do best when I leave them alone. Still, I like to dream I might grow something ‘exotic’… like zinnias… someday.
But this January I scaled down a bit because of an interesting observation I made last year. I missed the prime planting season by being in Italy last May. (Terrible I know but I didn’t feel that bad about it.) Not being home to tend my plants meant a few ‘weeds’ began to take hold and as I spent time filling pots and planters, the weeds in the natural gardens really began to flourish until I threw in the towel on besting them. I resigned myself to the fact that the patch won and I would have to look at weeds.
Then as the season progressed I noticed the bees were in the weed patch. The butterflies were in the weeds. The hummingbirds were in the weeds. It became a place of activity my planted garden had lacked, even though most plants were native. As fall crept closer, the birds were in the weeds and so were the bunnies. The wildlife had a definite preference for the little neglected ‘wild’ rather than architectural plantings. (I use ‘architectural’ in the loosest of terms.)
Even as I page through the colorful catalogs of what might be, I will reserve a space in my yard for Mother Nature to design and nurture, so her children also have a place in my yard. I will let her do the heavy lifting of deciding who goes where and who survives and be a little more attentive to who uses it.
Of course, that also works well for me- I won’t have to ‘weed’ that patch. It could be that I am embracing the ‘weed’.
As we hobbyist and master gardeners alike pour over those catalogs, maybe we could all find a small place for Mother Earth to design her own landscape that would best serve her children and relieve ourselves of some weeding chores in the future. Embrace the weed!