I am the first to admit that I have a brown thumb. I’d love to be one of those people for whom everything they touch springs to verdant green life, but that has never been the case. Generally my plants struggle along, trying their best, before dying a lingering death. That was before I discovered growing perennial weeds….
A weed is quite simply a vigorous plant that grows where one doesn’t particularly want it. They are tough, resilient, and tolerant of all sorts of neglect. Just perfect for me. An added bonus is that many of these “weeds” are beautiful and useful as food or medicine for both animals and people.
With this explained, you will not be surprised to discover the shy flowers and rich green leaves of wild violets surrounding our trees as accent plants, intrepid wild grapes embracing the back trellis, fragrant clematis and honeysuckle twining along the front, and a row of native mulberries planted three feet apart surrounding the yard. Naturalized grape hyacinth and narcissus greet the Spring from the still dull brown lawn. Oh, I forgot to mention the best part of growing weeds…they are free!
I often find myself on “rescue missions”. Violets that are otherwise going to be mowed or destroyed are carefully dug and moved to better places, spring bulbs that linger in empty lots waiting for new construction are nestled in my lawn, and sturdy mulberry seedlings join the hedgerow.
Mulberry seedlings were my mission today. I found two little trees growing defiantly in the alley behind the house. They must have sprung up after the last time the city mowed that area. I had a couple of gaps in my hedge, so I carefully dug them and added them to the line. Since mulberries become quite a large tree if left alone, they would not have been allowed to remain where they were. Now they have a new home where they will provide beauty for the eyes, fruit for jam, and fodder for my goats and rabbits.
Life is good….