Opinion
7:39 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Weeds... commentary from Joan Carris

If you have a yard, you’ve fought them… and never won. Commentator Joan Carris takes on the fight.

Have you ever had one of those days when you said, “Phew!  At least not all of my parts are broken.”  That’s how I felt this morning after about 90 minutes of weeding and planting, all on my knees.  They still allow me to kneel and work, although other body parts are threatening to resign.

I know I shouldn’t complain.  We are supposed to age gracefully, smiling as the cataracts fog our vision—as once-attractive bodies sag into the dumpiness of dowagers—as we give away our tennis rackets.  Well…I suspect that growing old with grace is something of a myth.  Kneeling in the garden is never going to replace playing tennis, even though I was mediocre.  Playing tennis was fun.  Weeding is a lousy alternative. 

Weeds are good for nothing, and they’re all over the place!  Even so we try not to use evil death sprays on them.  Instead, I have tried all manner of ecologically safe remedies to kill weeds.  The weeds are grateful beyond belief.  High saline sprays, vinegar water, uncoated aspirin dissolved in water, chili powder, on and on.  No matter what, the weeds hunker down for a day or two, then rebound healthier than ever.  They must think that these distasteful treatments are fertilizer.

I’ve thought a lot about weeds in the last few years, partly because my North Carolina soil grows them so readily...and partly because the earth seems to be densely populated with weeds masquerading as people.  Human weeds, good for nothing.  They are focused, determined, and everywhere.  The word compromise is not in their vocabulary.  Like their plant counterparts, these two-legged weeds want the whole garden.

For our gardens here in Beaufort, I have recently gotten an herbicide that will eradicate them.  Now they will die out, at least for a while.  Plants whose only goals are to bear fruit or lovely flowers will take over the garden, at least for a while.  One way or another, we can manage weedy plants.

Successfully managing the human weeds is the tougher question.  We are still searching for ways to control those who seem so determined to destroy our gardens.

©  Joan Carris