As the garden grows into complete hilarity, with an ebullient chuckle, I watch the weeds find their places. They’re clever, these weeds, finding quiet little dark places to begin their journey, rising into view long after the roots have winkled their way around, along and through those finer species, once carefully placed by us. When we clear space for such a planting, we see, not the weeds to come, or those now removed, but just this fine sunny spot, allocated to a shrub or bush, envisioned in full majestic bloom, with the ground floor as peaty brown as it was at the start.
Well Ho, says Mother Earth, and Hum to that, for she has other plans and she’s not giving them up to any old human. Let them eat cake, she says, for now.
Over winter the roots keep spreading, like witches fingers, in the silence of the earth, out of view, out of mind. Some of us employ evil sprays, conveniently forgetting the lasting damage any of them might do in the long term. We don’t worry too much about long term, unless we are a fledged and experienced gardener, which I am not. I quite understand those who buy all their bedding plants each year, thus creating what appears to be an established garden. It’s tempting. We don’t use sprays, choosing, instead, to allow the witches fingers room and time to stake their hold. Then, whatever Spring might bring in showers, snow, frosts and sunshine, these roots decide to reach for the sky, pushing up green and strong, and tempting me with pretty yellow blooms the bees love to visit. Well, that makes it okay then, if the bees choose thus.
It thinks me about weeds, or wild flowers in the wrong places. But who says it’s so? The wild flowers were here long before me and they’ll be here long after me, so which of us has rights in this little hill garden?
I was a weed, once. I think we can all admit to that at some point in our lives; when we just don’t fit in. Actually, I think I have often been a weed, but not ‘weedy’. Finely pedigreed folk who do fit in, might want to remove me, for I pinch the light and the live-giving water allocated to them. But, the strength and tenacity of me might undermine them, as long as I keep moving, keep finding new ways to reach the sun, keep producing pretty blooms for the bees. This is not a ‘them’ and ‘us’ thing, for we all have our place and time in this life, but, instead, of ‘both’. I never did like either/or scenarios, opting every time for a laterally sought choice. We know there is room for all of us, but the trouble is always one of boundaries – where you stop and I begin. After all, we don’t have the same voices, you and I, nor the same dreams, visions, hopes and plans. You may be planning for something I have no interest in. This doesn’t make either of us wrong nor right, just different. We laughingly say ‘Vive la difference!’ in our best french accent, but most of us have no idea what it means as a life choice. No matter how careful we are with our inner thoughts, we all make judgements on others. Words like ‘should’ and ‘ought’ pop into our mouths and out again and we feel regret long after the damage is done, for, in speaking those words about another living soul, we have shown we are better than they and have established it firmly in the ears of the listener.
I kick myself often for such worthless chatter, gossip to call it by it’s proper name. If I name a weed, I damage three people. Myself, the weed and the listener, and on what authority I ask myself?
In reply, I look out of the window, at the fancy shrub about to bloom, and, then down towards the so-called weeds. The shrub will never surprise me inside it’s controlled boundary limits, but the long-tailed fronded grasses, the speckly indigo blooms of the wild forget-me-nots, the creeping buttercups, the purple-belled ground ivy and the Lady Elizabeth poppies, the colour of sunshine……?
Well they will.