148 – Weeds *

Special thanks to Yvette for providing the photos and for her patience. Yvette is in the USA and I encourage readers to visit her eclectic blog Priorhouse Blog. Tell her I sent you. Readers are welcome to use her images, but with credit to her.

I like to walk on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

While crossing the walkway leading me to the beach, looking at the dunes, I notice the plants: some are close together while others are alone. The number of varieties seems few, but I know all are well adapted to live in the loose sand with salty air and persistent wind. I know they are not weeds, but they remind me of weeds.

Most of the time I don’t see many plants when I walk on the beach – only occasional seaweeds washed ashore either as single strands or in bunches. I chuckle knowing they are not the weeds that are in my head.

Weeds are something that doesn’t get a lot of thought. After all, they are unwanted plants. Weeds are so unwanted we whack them down, spray them for eradication, work on hands and knees to remove them from flower beds and gardens, or even hire a service to eliminate the unsightly.

To most people, weeds are undesirable wild plants growing where we don’t want them. What if we accept them? Would they still be weeds?

Weeds are plants. Just as much of a plant as roses, trees, flowers, and garden vegetables. Biologically, and just like the rest of life, weeds want to grow, survive, and reproduce to create the next generation.

I know weeds can irritate the skin, damage pavements, and disrupt water flow. But I also know they are good. Weeds attract beneficial insects. Weeds provide food to seed-eating birds. Weeds prevent or reduce erosion and moisture loss. Weeds add nitrogen to the soil and draw nutrients upward for other plants to use.

Weeds give us joy in the form of wildflowers. During walks in a forest or meadow, people do not see wildflowers for what they are – weeds? Then again, if they are not undesirable, are they weeds?

On the other hand, I doubt most people realize the magnificence of weeds. Their coarse leaves and heavy stems help make them biological marvels. Weeds compete for essentials with the desirables, and they are very good at what they do. Therefore, they might win the competition.

Weeds are hardy as they grow in conditions other plants cannot. Many weeds thrive during the hot, dry days of summer which causes other plants to wither. Oh no – not weeds – they take advantage of their opportunity to make progress for their kind!

I know weeds are awesome competitors that use their adaptations to their advantage. I know they don’t require much space to grow and will grow in difficult conditions. Their stem anchors in the soil, and then the growth spreads over other plants to out-compete the desirables for light and water. Give them an inch, and they will take a mile.

At my northern home, I know winter weeds use cold conditions as their time to thrive with less competition. That’s another brilliant adaptation for a hardy survivor and competitor. Yes, their evolutionary history has given weeds biological brilliance.

The bottom line is that weeds make the most of what they have. They can appear from a small opportunity in a thick lawn – let alone in those hard-to-grow areas like cracks in the concrete or pavement. No wonder some think of weeds as a plant in the wrong place. Just like weeds, my biology background has crept into the spaces of this walk.

Dandelions are weeds, so what is a weed to someone is beauty to others. I think of dandelions transitioning from yellow to soft, fluffy white seeds so the wind will take them to an undetermined destination. I think about how each seed is capable of producing a new dandelion with many future offsprings. I smile thinking of those white seeds blowing in the wind being related to the hopes, dreams, and wishes of the person who released them into the air. Do you remember those days as I do?

I think about how weeds relate to personal life. Everyone has a variety of weeds, thorns, and coarse stems in life – things that grow and crowd more desirable thoughts, traits, and actions. Our minds need to minimize weeds to grow and learn throughout life. I think about how biases, prejudices, and ignorance are weeds in our personal and mental gardens.

Life involves times of being deep in the weeds with troubles and problems. While some may get weeded out because they are unfit, unwanted, or unqualified, there are times when we must plow through the weeds to find a better place.

I didn’t imagine I would spend a walk thinking about weeds – let alone the time to draft, edit, and finalize a beach walk essay. Then again, why not because weeds are part of life. Maybe thinking about weeds leads us to a greater appreciation. Besides, thinking is what I do while I traverse the sand because I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

See what other bloggers have posted about Weeds

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90 thoughts on “148 – Weeds *”

  1. Dandelions are not native to the US but brought by colonists to “beautify” their gardens. But because of their invasive nature are now thought of as weeds (just unloved flowers). The thing is that many weeds are edible, pretty, and a vital part of the ecosystem (as you noted). The more pernicious weeds are the unwanted and dangerous weeds that spring up in the mind…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Muri,
      I didn’t know that dandelions are not native to the US. Then again, we know the colonists brought numerous things with them from across the pond. I’m with you – weeds have benefits – and that’s why I made sure to mention some of them in the essay. Thanks for sharing the info!

      Like

  2. Loved this post. I wondered, at The Holler, why I was killing weeds in favor of purchased plants. I now let the weeds, nicotina, soap flowers, even the salt cedar, et. al. ad infintum, grow. They are all beautiful, natural hardy plants. Darwins garden.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Weeds for sure can be unsightly f left to take over…but in the right spots, they can be pretty! I suppose I cold dry the dandelion roots, it is a good liver tonic, and eat the leaves in a salad, I can even buy them at one of our grocery stores! Rabbits love them too! Bees as well.

    The weeds I have concerns with are the non-native invasive ones, such as the garlic mustard.It even inhibits the growth of the plants around them. Apparently it is being researched for anticancer activity. As is the common periwinkle.

    In my yard the ones I really want to eradicate are those garlic mustards, and all of the ones with cling ons…they get stuck in the dogs’ fur and are hard to remove. So while I use no chemical agents, I pull them up when I see them…and try to prevent them from going to seed so none will propagate themselves. And I also remove toxic to animal and humans, the weeds such as pokeweed. Though apparently it is edible in certain growth stages. The berries would make good purple dye.
    What I try to grow or maintain are the berry plants such as the mulberries, and the wild brambles which not only us peeps like, but the birds gorge themselves on them.

    I want to try and start a native area in our yard to attract the pollinators and birds. need to research which plants to have, for the conditions that we have here. Then the ‘weeds’ we have will be loved!!

    Thanks for another thought provoking post, Frank.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ingrid,
      I appreciate your love for native plants. Years ago we used a nursery that only stocked native plants. Even though we’ve moved, we added a few of the native plants we enjoyed the most. As you mentioned, some weeds are still nuisances. Then again, they may also be someone else’s treasure. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol,
      Welcome first-time commenter to my beach. I aim for walks that are relaxing and though provoking with a wide range of topics. Weeds were a surprise when they popped into my head, but it worked! And as you mentioned, weeds can be delightful. Thanks for coming over from Yvette’s. At the last minute she came up with the interview idea and we made it work.

      Like

      1. Thank you, Frank it did work very well.. I walk every day… And yes weeds do work we forage a lot for greens(weeds) to some and mushrooms although I leave those to my dil.. I don’t know enough about funghi to be sure its edible..

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Love your thoughts on weeds, and Yvette’s photos illustrating them, Frank. I always find it amusing that the plants you nurture and fuss over in the garden are far less prolific than their weedy friends. Have a good week, hon!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you very much for including the link to my post. I like a lot what wrote here. Weed is as necessary (or even more) like any other plant. So many plants we call weed are important and fantastic healing plants. Thank you for spreading awareness about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Erika,
      Thank you for writing your post about weeds. After all, if you didn’t, I wouldn’t have found it! 😉 Isn’t it interesting how weeds are about perspective? Weeds are the unwanted, but if we see a benefit, we don’t call them weeds. Seems to be a double standard – then again, humans are a tendency for that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I invite you to return.

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      1. Haha, truth😄
        Yes, absolutely, weed is just a way of lookimg at it. Today we went to a botsnical garden and one part was a weed garden. I said to my husband we could do that too and we had no more work to do and the perfect garden😄
        Thank you very much again😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Good morning, Frank! Weed is just a term for something unwanted or undesirable, but as you point out with dandelions and wildflowers, it’s all in the perception. I read yesterday that bees are often most attracted to weeds.

    Liked by 2 people

            1. The teeny buds close to the crown of the plant by the soil line are very tasty in a salad. But once they get bigger the milky substance within their stems adds an astringent and bitterness that tastes more ‘toxic’ than nicely culinary! So my gut would be a big ‘no’ to the battering (!) of bigger buds – but go for it if you’re up for a culinary experiment!
              😉

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  7. While watching an episode on foraging, I saw many things I called weeds, including dandelions, included in edible plants. Of course, you’d have to know whether they’ve been sprayed with toxic chemicals before picking, but I thought it was interesting that we’d generally lost such valuable knowledge.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wonderful thoughts on a favorite subject of mine, Frank. A neighbor once pointed down into our yard and said, “You know, that’s a weed.” I said that I did, adding that I didn’t care. I had already observed rabbits munching on those “weeds” while never venturing into his pristine grass. That was 30 years ago. We still have weeds, and bunnies, and we still enjoy both.

    I think weeds are due for some respect, as movements across the country are calling attention to the water waste and chemical runoff of grass lawns. It might just be the dawn of the weed!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Frank, kudos to weeds, especially this summer where rain disappeared for a couple of months. As they say, if it’s still green it’s a weed. And if we didn’t have weeds, our lawn would look worse than it does. Weeds can of course provide food for the wildlife about and around us, and they serve a much more noble service that way!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ahh, weeds…the perennial that you don’t buy. You’re so right about their adaptability. Most are controllable (except for bindweed which is brutally obnoxious here in the city). One single plant will spread like wildfire and nothing you do seems to eradicate it. But you do have to admire their tenacity even as it clashes with one’s landscaping sensibilities. I’m close to getting a goat to see if they have better luck with getting rid of it than all my apparently feeble attempts.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Weeds are the ultimate opportunists, aren’t they, Frank? They take whatever spot of soil they can find, set down roots, and do their best to grow and thrive. Perhaps we should take a lesson from them instead of buying in to the pristine green idea of what a lawn should be?!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Enjoyed your thoughts, Frank. I homed in on the thought that weeds are unwanted plants. That’s very true. Dandelions in a yard are weeds, in the wild, just another wildflower. There are beautiful invasive plants that give lie to the idea that weeds are ugly. I think we can learn persistence from weeds. They can grow almost anywhere and are hard to get rid of. There are plenty times we need to be like that. Of course, some people are like weeds in an obnoxious sense and we can’t just spray Roundup on them. 🙂 (I hasten to add that I never, ever use Roundup on anything!!)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Janet,
      Love you seemingly contradictory views of dandelions – that is, a weed in one sense, just another wildflower in another. Perspective is a very important factor! Meanwhile, oh yes – some people are like weeds … and even the obnoxious ones … and even harder to be removed!

      Like

  13. Wow – my comment got posted twice in two different places. It’s proper place is with Michel.
    But this comment is to say my favorite is milkweed. It has a glorious scent in spring while blossoming and of course it evolves into a fun and funky seed pod in Fall. An all round productive and pleasant plant IMHO!! I’ve told the kids I want milkweed planted on my grave…but the caretakers probably won’t oblige.
    😦

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marina,
      I’ve been so slow on replying, this response is close to the next Hump Day than the last one! 😦 Isn’t it interesting that most people probably think more positive about seaweeds than land weeds. Hmmmm …. Now I’m wondering about what they may have in common. Have a good week! Yamas!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. “…the weeds that are in my head.” As soon as I read this my mind went into overdrive! Yes! I continue to read and I enjoyed what I was reading but I kept thinking… And then you voiced what I was thinking. What a wonderful way to talk about racism and bigotry and all the negativity that festers in our minds. If only we could devise a weed killer they would work on those insidious ideas that grow in our thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Perception is what it is, Frank. And, did you know that dandelions will not grow where they are not needed? The fertilize the soil and of course, we all know, they are a bees first food. No, I personally love wild flowers – no matter what they are called!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve tried to remain open to allowing some weeds to infiltrate some parts of my garden, or at least not to be so fastidious that I forget that some provide some benefit to the overall ecology of my garden. That’s taken some patience with myself! I do like weeds as metaphor. Some of my thoughts can sure be the weeds in our lives if I’m not alert. A very interesting beach walk, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      I see your point – especially because I know your love for plants. I think about your garden that you have lovingly managed for many years … and your latest project of letting your “front lawn” become a natural garden. So I can imagine the growth in your tolerance for weeds! Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  17. Frank – as I already noted – i enjoyed your post in weeds and had so many takeaways.
    Then coming back now I have found so many of the readers comments so interesting and informative
    ☀️😊🌿🍃🌱🌸

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yvette,
      Thanks for the kind words and for providing the photos. … and I can forget the great promotion! No matter the walk, reader comments have been important to me. I not only enjoy them. occasionally I get enough great comments that I create at least one other walk from them . I simply can’t thank the readers enough!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Frank – I found my way here from Yvette’s post. You chose beautiful photos of Yvettes to complement your words of wisdom about weeds. I love strolling on the beaches that you describe are your favorites.
    Did you know that dandelion leaves pack a punch of Phytonutrients that kill cancer cells? And, the flowers help the bee population too. Our bunnies and ground squirrels keep the population of them down in our yard – they are fun to watch as the clip it from the bottom and munch away until it is gone, leaving the flower for last. Kind of like dessert, I guess. Purslane is weed that grows fast and is good for us to eat too.
    Happy strolling to you – it was fun to visit your blog!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelley,
      Welcome first-time commenter to the sands of my cyber beach, and thanks for letting me know you came over from Yvette’s. She did a great job promoting this post. Weeds do many good things, including dandelions, but I didn’t know about the relationship between their phytonutrients and cancer. Thank you …. and Purslane is new to me.

      You may be surprised to know that I’m actually in Ohio, therefore not near a beach. But there is a story of how these came to be, so I invite you to read the very first beach walk. https://beachwalkreflections.wordpress.com/2020/10/20/1-introducing/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Frank, thank you for the warm welcome. Ohio isn’t that far from Wisconsin, so we can relate to much about the weather, etc., in the mid-west. Yes, Yvette did a great job on the promotion of the post. She’s such a kind and encouraging blogger, so lucky we’ve had our paths cross with her.
        Purslane is everywhere in our yard, the rabbits have eaten most of it, so they know how nutrient dense it is. I’ve purposely let it grow to use it in salads – sadly I’ve yet to do that!! 🤣😂 There’s something weird about wanting to eat rabbit food that has stopped me.

        You know how bitter cold it can get in the winters then!! Congrats on your beach strolls and the blog to host your thoughts. I appreciate you sharing the first post. I was nodding my head in agreement as I read your words of wisdom. Congratulations!!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, so I’ve heard. I have a friend who owns a place in Fort Meyers – in 2021 I was able to spend a week with her there. The beach walks (even if they have A LOT of sea shells compared to Jamaica’s 7 mile beach) it was so wonderful to connect with the vastness of the views. I never tire of it. Except there was some stinky pink/red algae at one beach. We left there and went to a different one. All was good!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The Panhandle sand is generally fine and nicely packed for easy walking … and a long way! On normal days, we walk 2 miles one way after breakfast and back. After lunch, 2 miles in the other direction, and back. Other ways I go farther. At least once I’ll walk 5 miles to have lunch, then back. I always enjoy that day.

              Liked by 1 person

  19. An excellent essay on weeds. Yes, I just wrote that!

    When thinking about our “mental garden” (beautiful wordplay on that one, btw), it strikes me that weeds are like those memories in our brains we wish we could discard but never will. Thing is, like the weed, are we really better off not having them reside there? Doesn’t the very fact they live on validate our inner strength?

    LOTS to think about in this one chappy. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Well Frank, it appears you’ve led MANY of us to think about weeds this week 😊. And Yvette’s images are a perfect match for your thoughts. I often wonder who says what’s good vs what’s bad when it comes to things like this. After all, yes, those lovely little puff balls that kids love to blow about, and the pretty little yellow flowers are prolific and require no work at all so why not admire them along with roses and chrysanthemums ?! Excellent food for thought (and BTW I believe many people eat dandelion salad, speaking of food!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tina,
      I must admit that the number of readers mentioning dandelion salad surprised me … but I can honestly say I’ve never had it. Weeds as a topic probably surprised a few people … and who knows how the idea even came to me. Nonetheless, if I brought a few unexpected thoughts, that’s a good thing. 🙂 Thanks for sharing and glad you enjoyed this essay.

      Like

  21. I have no problem with weeds.
    Sometimes I have a problem with people.
    Like when the lady down the street filled her entire front and back yard with wild flowers, and the perfect lawn and garden people in the area started screaming about her weeds.
    These people have toiled endlessly to make wildflowers illegal, and have succeeded to a large degree.
    However, Milkweed is allowed as a pollinator, along with a few others.
    Its legal name is “pollinator garden”.
    Dandelion salad is delicious, so how can it be a weed?
    Marijuana is called weed, but I think it’s a plant.
    Cheers Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      Thanks for sharing a bit of the weed issues in your area. Sometimes I wonder if some people simply have too much time at their disposal. I’m surprised how many readers mentioned dandelion salad – cheers to you for trying it … and liking it …. because not only have I not tried it, I’m not sure I’ve heard of it until this walk! Cheers …. clink!

      Liked by 1 person

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