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Some Thoughts On Gardening

November 30, 2009
Some garden

Some garden

– I always feel like a fascist when weeding the garden. I go along with the received wisdom that some plants are worth more than others, that some are keepers and the rest must go, but it doesn’t quite sit right with me. If this were people we were on about, there would rightfully be an outcry. By accident of birth, some plants are allowed to stick around – and are encouraged to thrive – while others are plucked and disposed of, burned or composted. It strikes me as a bit unfair.

– The above point is compounded by the fact that I haven’t quite worked out the difference between a desirable plant and a weed. For example, Grandma’s Trumpet is beautiful, but as far as I know it’s a weed. (Maybe it isn’t, and I’ve been pulling them up when I didn’t need to). So sometimes a plant can be a flower *and* a weed, and the weed bit trumps the flower bit. A plant’s flower can be as beautiful as it likes, but if the plant is deemed a weed, it’s a goner. The dandelion is another example: it doesn’t matter that it’s cheerful to have around the place, it needs eradicating, apparently. It seems a bit cruel, and more than a bit confusing.

– Are the rules of gardening arbitrary, like they are in sport, or are there good reasons for what is allowed and what isn’t? Is there a governing body like FIFA who send out edicts dictating what they see as fair play within the honourable code of the garden? Is Alan Titmarsh the equivalent of Sepp Blater?

– Some day I’ll know the rules and then be able to break them. Until then, I have to assume there are valid reasons to distinguish between weeds and flowers.

– What part of a plant contains its essence? What part do I need to get rid of in order to kill it?
For example, I could lob off a few flowers, but that won’t kill it. I could probably chop off the whole stalk and it would grow back. So it’s the roots, right?
Except there have been plants whose roots I have hacked to pieces yet they still come back to haunt me, like zombie weeds. So it’s not the roots.
Is there another part of the plant that I’m not aware of that sits between the roots and the stalk which contains its heart, and the plant dies if this previously-unbeknown-to-me portion is removed? If so, where did it come from, what’s it called and how did I miss it? And what does it look like and how do I do it in?

– We can all agree to ditch bindweed! It’s a weed and it’s ugly and I’m glad to see the back of it, even if I only ever get rid of it temporarily.

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