Laura Bruno – Sentient Weeds – 30 August 2013

laura-of-the-rocksThey say a weed is any plant growing where you don’t want it to grow. Sometimes even pretty, edible, medicinal, and/or intentionally placed plants outgrow their initial welcome. Or they try to take over the entire yard. I thought I’d share part of an ongoing exchange with a local gardening friend of mine who just returned after a month vacation. She had asked about canning supplies, and I just had my very first canning experience this past weekend.

Me:I made Lavender-Infused Dandelion Preserves with birch sweetener. Um….yum! Unfortunately, it was so very tedious to remove the dandelion bracts that I didn’t get to double or triple the recipe as planned. I still wasn’t even done de-bracting my frozen flowers when [my canning partner] arrived, on a time schedule. Sooo… that will be something I make again, probably next Spring when the dandelion flowers are nice and plump. Might as well get some benefit from this crazy yard!

Please let me know if you need any herbs, either for cooking or for starts. That garden sage is going insane again — actually, both are, but I learned the pineapple sage is not perennial in our zone. I also need to make some starts very, very soon of the tree collards, which are only perennial in zone 9. Everything in the garden is going insane, and I started yet another raised bed for winter veggies. I think I might be as crazy as my plants. :)

Her: Oh my, my yard is sooooo overgrown! And you wrote about weeding. I’m starting to think of the plants as being sentient. So how do you resolve weeding with that?

Me: RE: sentient plants. Um, yeah. Today, I told my morning glories to “play nice with the herbs,” because they were twining themselves around the tarragon and lavender, as well as totally covering an evergreen. I cut them back, and on my way to the meeting was admiring just how gorgeous they looked. They must have been PO’d at me, because when I returned, they were all wilting in the heat. With all the mulch I have there, they never wilt, but today they required me hand carrying 10+ gallons of water around that side of the house, shimmying behind the fence and back and forth. Then they perked up, but I could almost hear them snickering, “That’s what you get for telling us how and where to grow.”

I did have amazing results asking the poison ivy to leave. It is completely gone now — as far as David, our next door neighbor (who is terribly allergic to poison ivy), and I can tell. No Round-Up. No digging. I just asked it to leave, and it was ALL over our front and Southwest yard. After I thanked it for protecting the property and told it, “I’ll take it from here,” we haven’t seen it since.

Another time, I thought of pulling out my lemongrass plant because it had gotten so huge and was blocking the bell pepper. A few minutes later, I went out to harvest something else, and that lemongrass plant drew blood! Those grass blades are actual blades, but I’ve never been cut before or since I told it to behave or I won’t even save a single root to overwinter indoors. It’s been on excellent behavior ever since.

So yeah, the weeds … I tell them not to grow in certain places and they can flourish in others. Sometimes that works better than others. Sometimes I just need to give warning and say, “Look, you’re out of here!”

LOL, I am a crazy plant lady.

[And yet … if communicating with our plants can save us from using Round-Up and other toxins, think of the implications for our world! Last night, I found two huge grasshoppers on the lemongrass. I swear they were playing coy with me. “Just eat the lemongrass, OK?” I said. “Stay away from my kale.” When I came out this morning, the lemongrass had been trimmed back a bit so my newly planted Alaskan peas have light, and the kale looked great. I’m not above blending up a nasty jalepeno-geranium-garlic-peppermint spray to keep bugs off my plants, but it’s far easier just to ask the bugs to go somewhere else. The grasshoppers with their big eyes seem to be more willing communicators than this Spring’s leafhoppers. Watch out, though, leafhoppers: I’ll be ready for you next year, and no, I don’t mean pesticides. :) ] / link to original article

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