Is there such a thing as a good weed?
I've been spending a lot of time with weeds lately. It's not a bad thing really. Weeding a garden can be rather relaxing, almost a pleasure, with a cup of coffee, in the morning sun while listening to the birds sing.
But as I get rid of the 'bad weeds' and make new space for pretty perennials in a garden, I struggle with the definition of a weed. Is it just a plant that the gardener didn't put there? Is it just an ugly plant we don't like? Creeping Charlie can choke out your hosta garden as fast as letting the wild violets take over; so are weeds just an excess of any plant material that is happily over taking over your yard?
My number 1 gardening fan in South Elgin has just such a problem.
About 13 years ago, he picked up a seemingly innocent plant and brought it home to his garden.(Yes, it's similar to Little Shop of Horrors.) But instead of an alien Venus fly trap-like plant, he planted bamboo. Today, it's as thick as a forest and it's headed straight for his pool! He has desperately tried everything humanly possible to kill this weed, I mean, prehistoric perennial but without much success. So short of renting a few pandas, he's open to any advice you care to share from one gardener to another.
Last year, late in the season, I brought home a two gallon Montauk Daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum) and left it to over winter in the grower pot it came in. I placed in a perfect spot in the garden and threw a few oak leaves on it.
I had heard it was pretty hardy when left in containers and was happy to see signs of life growing on it this spring. However, last week, I spotted Montauk 'seedlings' growing throughout my garden! I'm considering it a weed now because I didn't intend for it to spread outside of its' perfectly placed spot. So until Mother Nature comes up with a weed free garden & well-behaved perennials, I think I have my relaxation cut out for me.