Sat 23 Aug, 2003 07:10 am
I found the following short commentary, from today's NYT, to contain thoughts not usually talked about, so I am quoting in its' entirety for others to comment upon.
August 23, 2003
THE RURAL LIFE
Garden of Weeds
By VERLYN KLINKENBORG
don't remember when I gave up. Perhaps I still haven't. But so far, this goes down as the summer when I grew no vegetables. The potatoes volunteered, and so did some garlic and chives and a single cornstalk. Last year's radishes did all they could. The blueberries set fruit copiously, but all they ask is acidity and mulch. In mid-May I spent two weeks preparing the soil, creating a fine seedbed in the upper garden and tilling the lower one. Then the deluge came. I discovered that I'm a fair-weather gardener. I want to plant my garden seeds in rows, not runnels.
Every day the vegetable plots nagged at me. One of them still does, its perfect vacant tilth preaching a stern lesson about timeliness. But the lower garden has taken matters into its own hands. Every weed seed has sent up a skyrocket of growth. Mullein spikes tangle with branching thistles. A hummingbird browses the jewelweed thickets. Bees clamber everywhere, rummaging in and out of blossoms. A hops vine has run its way to the top of a column of motherwort. The goldenrod is just starting to come into its late summer color. The vegetation has locked arms. It says, "Keep Out." And so I do.
This mess reminds me of the true generosity of a well-kept vegetable garden. By late August, tomato plants or cornstalks or cucumber vines are making offerings everywhere you turn, saying, "Here," presenting perfectly wrapped packages of ripeness. Compared with the vigilant self-determination of a full-grown burdock, a tomato plant dangling ripe fruit looks a little overeager. Can a bed of mesclun really be as ingenuous as it seems?
Of course, the tangle in the lower garden is no more natural than the perfectly ordered beds of a true potager, and no more unnatural. It merely announces the absence or, more accurately, the expiration of human labor. I think about reconquering that plot, and the thought wears me out. But I have a pair of allies who will make all the difference. In a week or two, long before the worst of the weeds have gone to seed, I'll move the pig house into that garden and turn the boys loose. It'll be a joy to see them doing what they do best.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
Aw, too bad, sounds like a great wild-flower garden.
My garden has been neglected this year except for random spasms of weeding activity, but I don't cringe when I go out there since it still has "good bones". Except for the back of the back, geez, weed city. Next year though, watch out!