Monday, May 23, 2016

My Weeds

Weeding was the activity of this past weekend, I spent about three hours total in the dirt deciding which plants got to stay and which ones did not and then pulling out (or digging out, or cutting low) those that did not meet with my approval.

I enjoy weeding. It's one of the few tasks in the garden where I feel I know what I'm doing. I like getting down low and spending time with my plants at the leaf and stem and root level, getting to know them better. And it's a great excuse to leave the house behind and to be out in the sun and fresh air and green for a while. And then afterwards to feel perfectly justified in sitting on our back bench with a beer and a book for another half hour or so. James Baldwin and Lawrence Ferlinghetti were good companions this weekend.

I used to have a book by Sara Stein on weeds, My Weeds: A Gardener's Botany. I owned it back when I managed a community garden. Somewhere I lost it, or gave it away - time to get another copy.

I finally went around and took photos of those plants that I couldn't figure out - weed or not? - and threw them up on Facebook in the hopes of getting some identification. Some of these I know are weeds but I would like to know what exactly it is. And one of these is echinacea - I just can't remember which one.

This is a pesky one - it's everywhere.
Or maybe this one is.

I have the feeling this is bittersweet. If so, when we moved in it was already well established. The flowers
and berries are pretty but it was choking our jasmine, so last fall I tried to get it out wherever I could.
I don't mind managing one of these... but not the multiple locations it's springing up.
And last night while leafing through my perennial book I realized this is
bees' balm! I remembered it had pretty flowers later on, and it has a lovely smell.
So this is a keeper - just needs a careful eye (as does my vinca).
What makes it harder to identify some of these is that a number of plants in our yard bloom later than in other locations in our neighborhood, or even in the yard next door (we get less light due to the two-flat next to us). So just comparing what I see here to what I pass when walking about isn't enough. I'm hoping that by documenting them (and making some sketches in my garden journal) I might be able to remember what things are next year at this time, when lots of things are green but not much has yet blossomed.

Reporting from the deep green,


  1. Oh, not bittersweet. These leaves are smooth, and bittersweet's are toothed.

  2. Blog as weed catalog! You might be on to something here...