Weeding is an ongoing task during spring, beginning with the area next to our neighbor’s home. Then, the front beds, vegetable garden, and underneath the blossoming pear tree where the shrubs I planted almost two decades ago (thinking, “they’re so pretty and just the right color”) have become much too large.
Sometimes, I don’t research the “will grow to be” section of what I’m about to plant.
Sometimes, in my enthusiasm, I plant things that eventually become tough to manage.
Weeding can be laborious, but it can also be a time with God if I take it slowly. The repetitive task allows my brain to decompress a bit and simply “be.”
Despite being careful and proactive, I sometimes end up with poison ivy.
I brush up against something that I didn’t realize was “poisonous.”
We don’t always immediately recognize what we should steer clear of.
I know someone fond of saying, “perennials are weeds,” so I asked my friends, Merriam Webster and Dictionary.com, to defend my stand that they are not the same.
Perennial: having a life cycle lasting more than two years; appearing again and again or year after year
Weed: a valueless plant growing wild, to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop; one that tends to overgrow or choke out desirable plants
That didn’t help!
I wanted a straightforward “weeds are bad, perennials are good.” I didn’t find that, but after more research than I care to admit, I learned that weed seeds are pretty much everywhere, just like the marvelous and the malevolent in life.
It’s those at the top couple of inches that get enough sunlight to turn into plants, just like those screaming the loudest often get heard.
When we’re novice gardeners, we can unwittingly cause buried weed seeds to rise to the surface. When we’re discovering “who we truly are,” we have to dig deep and bring those weeds to the surface so we can remove, heal or love them.
I read, when digging, be prepared for the floodgate to be opened for weeds (my dramatic interpretation, not the writer’s) and plan to either put in new plants or mulch the area.
Choke out the stuff you don’t want by filling in with plants/people/experiences you love.
Mitigate the parts of your world that cause you pain or sadness by living into what brings you joy.
I didn’t “plant” the weeds that I spent time pulling out.
They arrived in my life without invitation.
Maybe they blew in with the rain or wind, were carried in by an insect, or dropped off by a bird. Maybe those weeds were unwittingly “escorted in” on my own shoes.
One way to stop weeds is to pull them before they produce seeds.
There are many “life weeds” I took too long to “pull.”
But I’ve learned a lot from them. Some were downright beautiful, and I allowed them to block the sun, minimizing what I wanted to grow.
I didn’t always stop them from choking off or covering over what was lovely. Instead, I tried to walk alongside them, or ignore them, or believe I could help them become beautiful blossoms when they were simply weeds that, left unchecked, would take over.
To keep your garden and life weed-free, you have to do the work of fighting off the “intruders” that want to take root and germinate. Sometimes, you can spray extensive areas with weed killer, then come in and clean up what’s left.
But, often, you have to be purposeful, take your time, discern what’s good and what’s not-so-good, have honest conversations with God (about the weed-people, not necessarily the actual vegetation), and then remove them one weed at a time.