Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Chosen Weed

Photo courtesy Flickr

Audrey Wynne Hatfield’s How to Enjoy Your Weeds is a 1970 gem of garden writing. A guide to ancient wisdom about the plants around us, there is mention of plantain, said to be much enjoyed by birds.

About fifteen years ago, I began to tolerate plantain on the edges of the lawn. This year’s unusual weather has brought plantain into its own. I fertilized it last spring with time-release beads, and it’s absolutely beautiful now that the rains have come. The well-fed seed-stalk looks like anthurium, and the flat rosette of leaves is bonny and civilized, civilized enough to have been grazed by a slug. I’ll hide a nearly empty beer can near the patch.

I very much enjoy working with native plants rather than working against them. I considered the wisdom of restricting food plants to one narrow border and a set of apple trees and realized that the native areas of the garden grow wrens, finches, wild canaries, flickers, and quite a bit of leisure time for the household.


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