You got any? After ten minutes of trying to pull up some weeds and yank some vines down, I sure do. And here’s the first one:
Black-eyed Susan Vine, also called Clock Vine (Thunbergia alata) is simply gorgeous when it stays where you want it to stay. But it will take off during the summer (especially when you’ve been AWOL from the garden for months) and cover everything in its path. It is an annual, so it will die, but it will leave behind a LOT of seeds that come rushing back in the spring, each year.
Now if you wonder why a mere ten minutes of yanking this out of my trees, off of my shrubs, and down from the roof of the Bali hut is such a big deal, I’ll tell you. Because it is 95 degrees in my back yard today. NINETY-FIVE! And ten minutes is the absolute maximum I can take before I run back inside to cool down again, cursing the black-eyed Susan vine every step of the way. It’s bloomin’ HOT out there, pardon my pun. So I wish I didn’t have to deal with this vine smothering all its neighbors, beautiful or not.
What grows in your garden or yard that you love the look of, but hate dealing with? (Not counting lawns. I don’t know why anyone, anywhere grows grass, so I’m going to ignore that for the purposes of this post.) What troubles you to the point that you really want to get rid of it, but like the flowers or fruit or leaves so much, you just can’t bring yourself to do so? I’d love to know.
Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
All weeds are not created equal. Some of them are noxious, annoying, ugly things that take over your flower beds and make you shake your fist at the sky and use words no really nice gardener would use. At least not in public. Others are much nicer to find popping up here and there. If I like how they look, or think birds and butterflies will like them, and I don’t need the space for anything else, they get to stay in my garden. Probably my favorite of these would be spiderwort. I love the beautiful blue blooms, and even the foliage is nice, looking very much like strappy daylily leaves. This picture doesn’t do the blue color justice. It isn’t nearly this purple, but more of a real, true blue, which isn’t all that common in the garden. That’s probably why I like it so much.
I think weeds and wildflowers are often under-appreciated, and give a garden a sense of being more like a meadow. Do you have any that you allow to remain in your beds?
“Crabgrass can grow on bowling balls in airless rooms, and there is no known way to kill it that does not involve nuclear weapons.”
I think Dave’s on to something, here.
“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”
Consider the spiderwort. Flowers of the loveliest blue, opening every morning and closing in the afternoon. Graceful, grass-like foliage, tinted a teal green. Hardy, trouble-free, and eager to fill your flower beds with color all year long, here in central Florida. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Except, it’s considered by most to be a weed. An annoying invader that needs to be destroyed at all costs. Out, out, damned spiderwort! You can probably see where I’m going with this. At my house, spiderworts are allowed to grow and bloom where they will, unless I need the spot for something else. Why not? They’re beautiful, and fill bare spots perfectly. And unlike some actual garden plants I’ve been given, they don’t spread so horribly that I need a backhoe and a drum of Agent Orange to eradicate them. Prolific, but not obscenely so. Therefore, I smile at their pretty blue faces every morning, and enjoy them, until I need to replace them with a new rose or flowering perennial.
So what “weeds” are welcome in YOUR yard? I’m sure many of you are growing native plants here and there, and by some standards, most of those are considered weeds, too. Just as my spiderwort is a native, so is my seaside goldenrod, a tiny purslane called moss rose, a volunteer scarlet morning glory, and a few others. Most are welcome for now. They tend to be hardy and often provide food for birds and other wildlife. I’ll share some pictures of other “weeds” I love tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d love to know what’s volunteering at your house.