On Weeds

Purslane by A. Drauglis..

TheGardenLady has not spent much time writing about weeds. But weeds are something that TheGardenLady spends a lot of time pulling as well as thinking about. (I have read Weeds of the Northeast by Richard H. Uva. )

Whenever I pull the wild purslane- Portulaca oleracea or the Lamb’s Quarters -Chenopodium album or any of the other edible plants that are considered weeds like chickweed- Stellaria species or dandelions-Taraxacum officinale and toss them, I feel really guilty. I know I should really be harvesting these plants not composting them, even though composting means I am recycling these plants.

I have eaten purslane, a popular healthy green used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking.  And one time, I did want to try to make some dandelion wine since I grew up near the Dandelion capital of the world, Vineland, NJ.

But in my garden here, instead of appreciating the natural bounty, I am angry that these weeds are encroaching on the plants I chose to plant in a certain spot. Not only are they taking up precious space, they are soooo much more tenacious than the plants I put in. Even in the drought and heat that we are having on the east coast, it is the weeds that thrive. Isn’t that almost amazing? One can find nutritious foods by nature even in some of the most trying weather when other plants die of dehydration.

Weeds are fascinating. So I do think of weeds as I pull them up. And I try learn as much about these weeds as I can. Now if I could only learn to celebrate them.

 To learn to tolerate weeds, if not to celebrate them, there is a new book that this GardenLady wants to read called “Weeds:In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants” by Richard Mabey who is Britain’s foremost nature writer.  See here. Even though this is not necessarily a book about American weeds, even though it seems that many weeds are very international, this book might be something readers of TheGardenLady will also find interesting.







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