Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Garden magazines recommend that you begin getting rid of your weeds early in the season, so they won’t balloon into backyard monsters, intimidating the timid and spreading seeds far and wide. It is excellent advice. I recommend it--two thumbs up!

However, in a classic example of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, my weeds get away from me every year. They have a quiet way of putting on spurts of growth beyond your wildest expectations, and the weed that yesterday was modest (“I’ll just pull it tomorrow”) is now Godzilla in the backyard. And I can’t remember how Godzilla was brought down, but I imagine that it took something drastic, and I don’t know where in Portland to get flamethrowers and bomber aircraft.

Once weeds reach Godzilla size, I start to regard them less as weeds and more as volunteer ornamentals. I am interested to see how they manage, what kind of flowers they will have, how they survive in the toughest environments in my garden. I’ve encountered some lovely weeds this way--and if I don’t have anything to plant it that particular spot, why not leave the weeds be?

Some of my weeds are attractive enough that I’m thinking about how I can naturalize them in other areas of the garden. After all, they have proved that they can survive on neglect and abuse--which I find very attractive in a perennial.

Chani West-Foyle, marketing associate

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