My life has been full of special family events, so my garden hasn't really received a lot of attention. Finally, I have time to weed. So that you can understand the scope of my gardens, there are three trees that stand just off center of the front yard. Five rock paths radiate from them to form separate garden sections. Each section is a different micro climate (great for plant diversity and for a woman who loves to add plants). There is another section on the other side of the front walkway and two beds against the house. I have converted that strip of grass between the sidewalk and street into a bed also. The side yard is for veggies. While it sounds huge in writing, in reality it is the length of my small Cape style home and about half the width.
As I began to weed, separating out the edible weeds for lunch, my mind went into its quiet space. For me, this is huge. My brain is always planning, solving or creating. While a nice ability, sometimes you just have to shut it all down. Birds and insects provided soft music to my efforts. I talk to my plants as I move among them, often out loud (a little embarrassing when a neighbor walks by). I compliment a color or bloom shape. I encourage a plant having difficulties. I exclaim over a plant that I didn't place there but showed up anyway. The plants bring joy but it is the weeds I need to listen to. This time they are the teachers, direct and to the point.
Weeding is often called a chore because it isn't as fun to remove as it is to plant. Life is like that too. Sometimes we hang on to things or let them grow until we realize that we don't need or want them anymore and now are forced to dig or yank them out in order to clear space for something new. Sometimes the weeds come out easily and work goes quickly, but other weeds hold on tenaciously, their roots going deep or long making me work for it and slow down. I am beginning to appreciate those weeds. I think about why they are there, marvel at their strength and also appreciate their beauty. What are they telling me about my garden? Vetch and white clover comes in to provide more nitrogen while mullein and violets say I have acidic soil. As I pull them, I thank them for their lessons. My thoughts go to what my personal soil might need. Better nutrition? More friend time? More movement? More down time?
Sometimes the weeds I pull are unexpected. Some weeds have thorns that snag and bite. Their tendrils wrap around other plants for stability, strangling in the process. As a Reiki Master, I have sometimes felt this type of energy on clients. Some other person's energy has latched on to the client, wrapping its way around and squeezing the energy out of them. That is when we work on setting boundaries and learning self care. Just as these vines are difficult to extract without hurting the plant they're attached to, it is difficult to learn not to take on someone else's energy. Both cases are a lesson in patience and choice.
Sometimes weeds lie hidden. I was thinking about how I had allowed bedstraw (Gallium spp.) to not only grow but stay in the garden. It was like a visitor that was way too happy to stay. I reached into a clump of tiger lilies for bedstraw only to realize I had grabbed a mitt full of poison ivy. Didn't even see it, and yet it was glorious in its dark green color, large leaves and happy demeanor (it LIKED where it was). Thankfully, I wear gloves. How did I not see it? It seemed to come out of nowhere yet had obviously established itself there for a while. Poison Ivy should ALWAYS give you pause. If you don't, it teaches you a lesson you don't ever forget. So far, I have never had the rash but that doesn't mean I don't show the plant respect. It made me wonder what other things I wasn't seeing that were obvious? As I have a very allergic family member, removing the poison ivy was a necessity. Washing my gloves and arms where I touched it was also necessary. Poison Ivy did its job, I really focused on my task and took more care.
Perhaps you are saying "I don't have a garden"; "I don't like to garden" or "I can't grow anything" and therefore, you won't have these weed-learning moments. You're in luck! These moments CAN be yours! Take a walk. What's growing in the sidewalk cracks? Sit in a park. What grows there? Visit the beach. Whose plant print is in the sand? Plant in pots and see what grows. For those of you who don't care for plants, remember the doctors say to get more greens. Are you the proverbial "black thumb"? Check your pH, make amendments, and keep searching, the right plant will grow for you when the timing is right.
When you spray chemicals on weeds, you ignore their lessons. You poison yourself and your environment and you shut down an avenue of information. Instead, bend down, pull a weed and get your hands dirty. Open your inner ears and hear what the weeds are saying. It could be life changing.
May your life be full of humus and of balanced pH.