The Joys of NOT Weeding

My regular readers may remember that I practically wax rhapsodic about weeding by hand: how restful it is, how it forces the gardener to slow down and learn things about the garden, how I can relax and disengage from everything while I’m doing it and have concrete, visible results when I’m done, how I’ve often encountered nature in the midst of it…but I digress.

On July 4th I weeded perhaps a bit too aggressively and re-injured my back.  Some further pruning and weeding the next day put me out of commission for the rest of the summer more or less.  I’m back to slow bouts of poking around, but I now know I’d better not spend too much time or I’ll really be in trouble.

How can this possibly be a good thing? Well, the pain never is, of course.  And of course, all the weeds that went to seed are not going to be–but some things can’t be helped.

But I’ve discovered a few other things in my forced hiatus.  The first surprise was a lovely great blue lobelia, lobelia siphilitica.  I had planted these many years ago but had presumed, lobelia being the short-lived species that they are, that they had all died out.  I think now that I was perhaps weeding the seedlings out (because, let’s face it, they are a wildflower so the stems do look a little weedy without blooms!)

The next surprise is that, except in areas where I had deliberately not planted–paths, for example–it was not nearly so weedy in most places as I feared.  The one exception was my perennial garden where literally hundreds of impatiens capensis–jewelweed–had self sowed as they do every year.  Fortunately they are ridiculously easy to remove.  Unfortunately, they should not be removed all in one day–note to self for succeeding years!

Those paths that I mentioned were primarily weedy because weeds had crept in from the lawn–so perhaps, once I’m a bit stronger, better edging–with a spade, not with commercial stuff–will help keep that at bay.

And of course there was that area I discussed a week or so ago where I’d cleared out the garlic mustard and the clearweed had moved in–but that’s in my woodland and even I am not fanatical about weeding the woods, except of invasive species.

Friday I’ll show a different kind of weeding solution: acceptance and embracing the enemy!

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