... I spy honeysuckle and hibiscus, privet and elm, Euonymous and ivy, sedge and virginia creeper, and, of course, Vox, my weedy-yard-loving terrier-chihuahua who knows all the best chase-able creatures hide back here ...
See, now, how stunted those boxes of crayons made our seeing, making us believe that ‘spring green’ was a single shade? That one has more lemon, that one is friendlier to the dusty blues, this one is a shade of turtle that a child would draw, this other is more authentic to oozing pond life. Basic biology books make out in their line drawings like all cotyledons are a stem’s first globular rounds, but this one looks like a lily pad, that one the tip of a cherub’s arrow. Amongst the burgeoning leaves, some are waxy, some have downy fluff, some are slick, some deeply veined.
These are already becoming lobed, those are already developing little tendrils. From the infinite mass and still-slightly-sickening riot of non-planted green I come to individuate numerous offender-specimens I can more or less name, another dozen I’ll have to photograph for looking up later, and, admittedly, a handful more I am now a sucker for, and will let them be.
Some of the most common definitions of "weed":
¥ ... is a misplaced plant, or a plant in the wrong place ...
¥ ... is an unappreciated plant, or an undervalued plant ...
¥ ... a wild plant growing where it is not wanted ...
¥ ... an unwanted plant, or an undesirable plant ...
"What is a weed? I have heard it said that there are sixty definitions. For me, a weed is a plant out of place. Or, less tolerantly, call it a foreign aggressor, which is a thing not so mild as a mere escape from cultivation, a visitor that sows itself innocently in a garden bed where you would not choose to plant it."
--Donald Culross Peattie, Flowering Earth (Trinity University Press, 2013).
“We habitually think of weeds as invaders, but in a precise sense they are also part of the heritage or legacy of a place, an ancestral presence, a time-biding genetic bank over which our buildings and tinkerings are just an ephemeral carapace. I still hoick them up when they get in my way, but it’s a capricious assault, tinged with respect and often deflected by a romantic mood.”
-- Richard Mabey, Weeds: In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants (New York: Harper-Collins, 2010), 183.
“Weeds, those vagrant plants, those wanderers, the uninvited … they have an infinite capacity to heal the earth, to heal our bodies, and maybe just heal our souls too.”
-- Gareth Richards, Weeds: The Beauty and Uses of 50 Vagabond Plants (London: Royal Horticultural Society and Welbeck Publishing Group, 2021, 7.
“Look everywhere, and you will find wild plants in places so unlikely and so unfriendly to growth that you can only be amazed at the toughness and vigor of the plants that survive in the rubble, in the cluttered ‘gardens’ of their own making.”
-- Anne Ophelia Dowden, Wild Green Things in the City: A Book of Weeds (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1972), 2.
“A man’s nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.”
--Francis Bacon (1561–1626), “XXXVIII: Of Nature in Men,” in Essays, Civil and Moral (The Harvard Classics: 1909–14), available --HERE--.
“Weeds are everywhere. We may try to bend nature to our will, but on the peripheries of herbicide-drenched fields, squeezed between paving slabs and seeded into the crevices of city walls, these often disregarded plants grow and prosper. They are the tough underclass of the plant world, bullying their way into drainage systems, poisoning meadowland, stealing essential nutrients and taking a stranglehold on plants we deem legitimate. Yet in those far-flung places where wilderness remains we often do not bother to consider weeds at all. And they require our attention. Weeds exist only in relation to ourselves.”
--Nina Edwards, Weeds (London: Reaktion Books LTD, 2015), 7.
Top, l-to-r: tomato; lemon balm; amaranth (in a pot of blueberries).
Middle, l-and-r: cucumber and summer squash in perennial garden beds.
Bottom, l-to-r: oak (possibly a southern red) seedling in ivy; (top middle) another summer squash & (bottom middle) a white oak seedling in ivy; a malva hiding beneath hydrangea.