A Weed by Any Other Name: The Virtues of a Messy Lawn, or by Nancy Gift

By Nancy Gift

Is weed? this question, requested through an individual who has ever gardened or mowed a garden, doesn't have a simple resolution. in any case, a weed, as suburban mom weed scientist Nancy present reminds readers, is just a plant misplaced. In A Weed by way of the other identify, present bargains a private, unapologetic safety of clovers, dandelions, plantains, and extra, chronicling her adventure with those "enemy" crops season through season. instead of falling prey to pressures to accomplish the correct garden and backyard, reward elucidates the various purposes to include an unconventional, weedy backyard. She celebrates the spots of wildness that crop up in a number of corners of suburbia, redeeming many a plant's attractiveness via expounding on its confident characteristics. She contains recipes for dandelion wine and garlic mustard pesto in addition to sketches that convey the normal great thing about vegetation corresponding to the morning glory, labeled by way of the USDA as an invasive and noxious weed. even though she is an suggest of weeds, reward admits that a few vegetation do require eradication-she fortunately digs out multiflora rose and hotels to chemical struggle on poison ivy. yet she additionally demonstrates that weeds frequently hold a message for us concerning the land and our remedy of it, if we're keen to pay attention.

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Additional info for A Weed by Any Other Name: The Virtues of a Messy Lawn, or Learning to Love the Plants We Don't Plant

Example text

I should replace them only if I can choose a better plant for that place than the one already growing there. I often think about this when I try to seed grass in the space next to our driveway, the one we always run over if we back in hastily. If crabgrass won’t even grow there, perhaps we need to put in something to help us with our aim, rather than cursing the grass for failing to cover our sins. But in my parents’ yard, the lack of violets was what told me about the problem. This wasn’t a soil problem, exactly, though the herbicide is probably still lingering in the soil.

The sumac was growing just a few feet away, and I scattered the seed heads all over the soil that had been covered by the multiflora rose. Sumac was the only native plant in reach, with last year’s seeds still attached in early spring, which I hoped could provide our visual block. We mowed the strip a few times, and though some trash continues to land there, at least now I can pick it up without injury by thorns. A few of the sumac seem to be coming up, and the clover-grass mixture has made good ground cover and a bit of walking space.

I’d like to think I made the garlic plants more vulnerable to freezing, or at least slowed their growth, by topping them at this stage. This plant is fairly rare in lawns (and sparse when it does grow there), which suggests to me that either it doesn’t like being mowed or doesn’t compete well with grass. I can hope that mowing is what hurts it because, if so, maybe my lame attempt at hand eradication was more successful than I think, but I’m not holding my breath. On the other hand, maybe eradication shouldn’t be my goal after all.

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