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

By Nancy Gift

Is weed? this question, requested by way of an individual who has ever gardened or mowed a garden, doesn't have a simple resolution. finally, 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 deals a private, unapologetic security of clovers, dandelions, plantains, and extra, chronicling her event with those "enemy" crops season via season. instead of falling prey to pressures to accomplish the fitting garden and backyard, present elucidates the numerous purposes to embody an unconventional, weedy backyard. She celebrates the spots of wildness that crop up in a variety of corners of suburbia, redeeming many a plant's acceptance via expounding on its optimistic characteristics. She contains recipes for dandelion wine and garlic mustard pesto in addition to sketches that convey the typical great thing about plants resembling the morning glory, categorised through the USDA as an invasive and noxious weed. even supposing she is an suggest of weeds, reward admits that a few crops do require eradication-she fortunately digs out multiflora rose and lodges to chemical struggle on poison ivy. yet she additionally demonstrates that weeds usually hold a message for us concerning the land and our therapy of it, if we're prepared 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

Sample text

The problem was that violets couldn’t grow there. If edible lawns were ever a food security necessity, my parents would have been out of luck that year, because most vegetables couldn’t grow in that herbicide residue, either. Thanks to mom’s persistent lawn man, I finally saw the evidence: the patch of violets that had thrived there for years was gone. Time passes, and rain falls, and herbicides degrade thanks to soil bacteria and weathering. Herbicides are generally meant to last a season, not forever.

As a wise student, Rosemary Flenory, noted in one of my classes, soul food has been with the poor for generations, and both slow food and soul food involve cooking hearty, home-grown meals with respect for love and tradition thrown like spices into every pot. We can grow food and be farmers, epicures, or simply frugal people. Whether we pick the edible weeds or sow the heirloom vegetables, the shameless production of vegetables at home ennobles us. Much as I admire Fritz Haeg’s front-yard vegetables and rebellious garden artistry, one problem he doesn’t address thoroughly in his book is how cold or dry seasons offer a serious challenge to aesthetically pleasing vegetable growth.

If I fail individually at eradication, maybe when I make it look desirable, the other neighbors will eradicate it for me. Maybe in a few years I’ll be complaining that someone stole all the garlic I was cultivating in the community center garden, just when I was ready to make some early spring garlic mustard and wild garlic pesto. Foxtails and Chickens M a r c h , a t h o m e , P i tt s b u r g h , a n d a c h i ld h o o d A u g u s t, C e d a r M o u n t a i n , North Carolina Spring is the ideal time to teach about weeds, because so many of them are just emerging.

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