Weeds, by any other name, are hardy, independent plants, sometimes beautiful, like Queen Anne’s Lace or milkweed, sometimes beautiful like prickly bushes. They grow where they will and resist poisons to kill them from above and efforts to eradicate them from the root. They propagate prodigiously, as all know that where one weed exists, soon there will be riots of them.
I respect weeds and have often pondered the thought that, at some other place, some other time, they are someone’s cozened flower. I have also waged wars against weeds, those unwelcome visitors into my gardens. In the process, I have learned many lessons.
Don’t trust to one deep root. The weeds that are most likely to survive send out many roots, digging into the earth through multiple connections. They are hard to pull and most likely to survive despite losing all of their greenery.
Spreading low to the ground might delay the gardener’s notice, but weeds that cover the ground are the most gratifying to pull as, once the gardener has discovered the root, they are quickly removed and expose much ground.
Don’t be a prickly pear. A beautiful flower, though uninvited, is less likely to drive a gardener to its destruction than the harsh affront of a prickly bush, whose pickers shout like a thousand raised middle fingers to the world. A gardener will give up pulling a flowered weed and surrender the root to the ground, but will gather all many of gardening weapons to eradicate a thistle and even endure many a sharp stab from its spines in the effort. Nothing is as satisfying as pulling a thistle and, once the gardener is beyond the spines, as easy. In their cockiness, thistles send down one tap root, which surrenders easily, having trusted too much to the protection of its spines.
Weeds, it seems, are best preserved by sending out multiple attachments to the earth in which they live. In this way are they best supported by any buffets from above and most difficult to eradicate.
That seems a good lesson for all of us.