When is a Weed not a Weed?

– Posted in: Garden chores
1 comment

Last Saturday and this one I weeded the patio bed, each time just enough to get one of my potted plants into the ground. Last week it was Molinia caerulea ‘Variegata,’ and today it was Polemonium caeruleum ‘Brise d’Anjou.’ Both of these have yellow variegation in the foliage which I intend to complement the flowers of the Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) already there.

Anyway, as I was weeding last week, several thoughts popped into my head in the form of riddles:

Q: When is weeding like a puzzle?
A: When you’re trying to get ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) out of bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).

Q: When is a weed not a weed?
A: When it’s variegated.
A: When it’s red.
A: When you decide it’s the right plant for the place. After battling it for many years, I finally appointed ground ivy the official ground cover around my lilac hedge, and now I only have a few isolated weeds to pull out of that bed. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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Alice Nelson August 11, 2004, 9:43 am

I suppose milkweed is a weed – but I always let a little grow near my compost pile in hopes that a monarch caterpillar (or 2)soon will be there. None this year – must be the cold; we may have a high of 48 today! Someone forgot to order summer up here. I also have a clump of buttercup in the middle of my garden; it makes a nice spot of yellow, at 18″ wide spot and 20″ high. Same could be said for a clump of St. Johnswort. Have to be very careful about deadheading the buttercup, or I’ll end up with a garden full of buttercups. Now there’s a thought. Never thought of globe thistle as a weed, but it is beginning to be one. One flower that grows as an alien weed up here is tansy, which is everywhere. I was told by a woman from England that they grow it in their gardens there.That’s probably where it came from, with some enterprising England-to-America transfering gardener.