My neighbor Deb is fond of saying, “A weed is just a misunderstood flower” or something like that. My other neighbors must misunderstand this concept, too, because I don’t see them flocking to buy tickets to SCOTT’S DENSE WORLD OF DANDELIONS or CARBONARA’S CLOVER AND CREEPING CHARLIE HAVEN. In fact, when my yard begins to take on the look of a wetland refuge, the only things I get from my other neighbors are ugly stares and mean glares.
Since it’s Spring time, let me give you my take on the whole weed vs. flower issues as a layman (a.k.a., someone whose father beat him when he was a child because the entire yard looked mow-able…grass, peonies, tulips, tomatoes, asparagus, peppers, zucchinis. etc.). You get the idea. This is not going to be the opinion from a specialist.
Flowers take work. Some flowers grow in the wild (I wonder if that’s where the words Wild Flowers originate?) with little care or planning. But flowers in a garden take some level of engineering.
One year I planted a bunch of flowers. My garden looked great! I had color, height, variety that attracted some very pretty hummingbirds. And then a few weeks later, everything died back. And for the next 3 months I looked at withered twigs. Apparently, an actual gardener knows that you plant things so that the garden has blooms and beauty throughout the whole growing season.
Yeah, flowers take work. You have to plant them, water them, fertilize them, plan for them and plan around them. Otherwise, you’ll have long stretches of ugly in your yard.
Weeds are easy. If you want to cultivate weeds, you don’t need to do a thing. Just open your eyes and POOF! Weeds. In times of great rains, weeds. In times of drought, weeds. Direct sunlight, weeds. Shade, weeds.
Ever try to get rid of weeds? Ah, now this is a real differentiator between flowers and weeds. For 4 years I tried to grow roses. I ended up growing thorn bushes and bitterness. I couldn’t get those roses to grow to save my life. But at the same time, I kept pulling up weeds, roots and all. And guess what? Apparently, there’s a lot more “roots and all” than meets the eye. Because days–and in some cases HOURS–later, the weeds would come back.
If I could find a way to genetically splice a weed with the hair genes of the follicularly challenged, I would be rich beyond imagination.
If you want things of lasting beauty in your life…if you want your heart to be a vibrant, glowing, attractive and inspiring centerpiece, you’re going to have to plant a garden in your soul. It’s going to take work. Not every plant will survive. Some varieties are much harder to cultivate because they require character, discipline, diligence and patience.
If you enjoy the unpredictable thrill-ride of chaos…if you want to live on the edge of reaction, taking whatever comes, telling yourself that there is nothing you can do to better your life or improve your circumstances, do nothing. It’s cheaper, it’s easier. And you will have no shortage of growth, just not the kind most people tend to brag about.
What are you going to plant during this growing season of your life?